Alcohol has been a popular beverage for centuries, but one common concern among people who drink is whether or not it will make them gain weight. While it is true that alcohol contains calories and can contribute to weight gain, the overall relationship between alcohol and weight is more complex than many people realise.
Let’s take a look at this common thought, and try to demystify it!
The Relationship Between Alcohol & Calories
First off, it’s important to understand that alcohol contains calories. In fact, it has almost as many calories per gram as fat, with 7 calories per gram compared to 9 calories per gram for fat. This means that when you drink alcohol, you are consuming additional calories that can contribute to weight gain.
Does Alcohol Make You Gain Weight?
Yes, alcohol can contribute to weight gain, directly and indirectly.
With its high calorie density – as mentioned above – drinking alcohol can also stimulate appetite and make you more likely to overeat. Many people find that drinking alcohol can increase their appetite, leading them to eat more food than they normally would. This can also contribute to weight gain, especially if the food choices you make while drinking are high in calories and unhealthy fats.
Additionally, alcohol can affect your ability to make healthy food choices. When you drink, your judgment and decision-making skills may be impaired, which can lead you to make poor food choices that you might not make when you are sober. This can also contribute to weight gain.
Furthermore, your body prioritises metabolising alcohol over burning fat and carbohydrates, which can lead to weight gain. When you consume alcohol, your liver is primarily responsible for breaking it down and removing it from your body. This process, known as metabolism, requires a lot of energy, and as a result, your body burns alcohol calories before it burns calories from other sources, such as carbohydrates and fat.
But the amount of energy you need to break down alcohol is a lot less than that of which you consume, thus creating an excess of calories.
This means that when you drink alcohol, you are essentially “storing” the excess calories from the alcohol in your body rather than burning them immediately. This can lead to weight gain over time, especially if you regularly consume more alcohol calories than your body can burn.
Finally, many alcoholic beverages, like beer and mixed drinks, contain high amounts of carbohydrates and sugars, further adding to their calorie content.
How to Enjoy Drinking Without the Calories
Overall, while it is true that alcohol contains calories and can contribute to weight gain, the relationship between alcohol and weight is more complex than many people realise. The amount of weight you gain from drinking alcohol will depend on a variety of factors, including how much alcohol you consume, how often you drink, and what type of food you eat while drinking.
If you are concerned about over-consumption of calories from drinking alcohol, there are a few different actions you can take.
For example, you can choose lower-calorie alcoholic beverages – such as light beer or wine spritzers – limit the number of drinks you have, eat healthy, balanced meals between drinking, and avoid high-calorie snacks while drinking.
However, as we are all to aware here at NoLo Beverage, one of the best ways to enjoy drinking – whilst reducing calorie count – is to switch from alcoholic to non-alcoholic drinks.
There are many wide ranging health benefits of drinking non-alcoholic drinks, without having to compromise on taste or quality.
If you’re still unsure, we suggest you check out some of the following article for more information!