A study shows that drinking a glass or two of wine may be heart healthy, but that doesn’t mean it’s good for weight loss. In fact, alcohol causes weight gain when too much is consumed too often. Every part of your diet, including what you drink, plays a role in whether you’ll shed those extra pounds or not. Alcohol does have many negative effects on your body, too. It not only causes diminished performance physically and mentally, it can increase your risk of diabetes and liver disease. Like any food or drink—except water, it has calories.
There are some benefits from some types of alcohol.
There’s no doubt there are extra calories in alcohol that aren’t good for your diet and when too many drinks are consumed too often, will definitely cause weight gain. However, when consumed in moderation there are a few benefits. For instance, used in moderation, some types of alcohol may aid with improving immune functioning, lower the risk of dementia and even provide heart healthy benefits. No studies show it aids in weight loss, because it doesn’t.
Alcohol is the very definition of empty calories.
Aside from resveratrol, there are few nutrients in alcohol unless you get a fancy drink with juices that are also loaded with sugar. The body uses the calories in alcohol first, since they can’t be stored. Anything with the alcohol is stored as fat. If you’re past menopause and estrogen levels drop the excess weight from alcohol starts to form around the middle as belly fat. It’s all because of an enzyme called Aldh1a1.
Alcohol also slows the fat burning process.
If your body is burning the alcohol, it impairs how glucagon—the hormone that elevates blood glucose levels and breaks down fat. Since the body doesn’t recognize alcohol and considers it poison, the body puts the liver to work to get rid of it, it doesn’t perform other tasks and breaking down fat goes to the sideline. Your blood glucose levels drop and that can make you feel starved. Everything looks delicious and it stimulates your appetite. If you drink less, you’ll probably eat less at that meal.
- Alcohol can cause insulin spikes which may cause insulin resistance, weight gain and even impede weight loss. While you can still drink alcohol and lose weight, it makes weight loss far harder to do.
- Alcohol can reduce testosterone levels, which puts a block on building muscle tissue. It can lower metabolism by interfering with muscle gain. The interference with testosterone levels both directly and indirectly affect weight loss.
- One study shows that people who had an alcoholic drink before a dinner or with a meal, compared to those who had a soft drink, ate far more than their counterparts.
- Alcohol has two times the calories for each gram than protein and even more than most carbohydrates. It has 7 calories per gram compared to fat at 9 calories per gram, but fat is necessary for your body to function right, including for weight loss.
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