Whether it’s beer, wine, cocktails, or hard liquor, one thing is clear: humans adore their alcohol. For many, their love of libations makes it difficult to shed weight, resulting in the classic “beer gut” among other excess poundage issues. But does alcohol really pack on the pounds? Brews and vinos do make you gain weight, just not in the way you think.
Different Calorie Processing
The body does not process calories from alcohol the way it processes calories from food. Since alcohol is recognized as a toxin, the body tries to flush it out as quickly as possible. This causes the liver to work extra hard and the metabolism to slow to a crawl. That means any food you have consumed while drinking is more likely to be stored as fat instead of burned for fuel. Additionally, there’s no burning the calories you drink instead of eat.
The Dehydration Issue
Besides slowing your metabolism down considerably, alcohol dehydrates the body. This also has an effect on your weight loss regimen.
“The combination of alcohol’s diuretic properties and the lack of water consumed during drinking episodes is the perfect storm for dehydration,” Sydney Greene, RD, a New York City-based nutritionist told MSN. “When someone is dehydrated, they will likely feel more fatigued, which can lead to increased consumption of high-sugar and high-carbohydrate foods for a pick-me-up.”
Greasy “hangover food” also derails weight loss efforts, especially when you make a habit of it.
“There is zero scientific evidence to support greasy Thai food or McDonald’s cheeseburgers [for hangovers],” Greene remarked. “If anything, opt for eggs the next morning, as they contain the amino acid cysteine, which breaks down acetaldehyde, a byproduct of alcohol.”