Does Alcohol Cause Weight Gain?

Question: Does drinking alcohol cause me to gain weight?

Answer: Yes. Drinking any kind of alcoholic beverage will cause you to gain weight. Alcohol slows the rate at which the body burns fat by nearly one third. The body’s fat, which would ordinarily be broken down and sent out of the body, is more likely to end up on the hips, thighs or abdomen.

Why does alcohol cause me to gain weight?

Alcohol that enters your body is broken down into a chemical compound called acetate. Since acetate cannot be stored in your body, it must be immediately converted to energy. Hence, your body will burn acetate before any other calories you’ve consumed, including fat or sugars. So when alcohol is in your system, your body will force these calories into storage while it burns the acetate.

It doesn’t help that alcohol contains a lot of empty calories—empty because alcohol contains no beneficial nutrients, like vitamins or minerals. To be specific, one gram of alcohol contains 7 calories of energy, comparable with the caloric density of fat that contains 9 calories per gram. Alcoholic drinks also contain sugar additives, adding even more calories to the diet. Furthermore, people tend to eat about 20% more calories when they drink with a meal, again adding to our neat little pile of calories.

How much alcohol can I drink a day without gaining weight?

Studies show that daily intake of three or more drinks per day will directly affect weight gain. However, this number differs depending on gender, weight, age, height, activity level, genes, and pre-existing medical conditions.

There are a lot of arguments about the health effects of alcohol. However, one thing is sure: alcohol may have some positive effects, but even these are not without its risks. If you don’t drink alcohol, then there’s no reason to start. And if you’re trying to lose weight, cutting back or abstaining from alcohol is one of many lifestyle modifications that can help you to achieve your goal.