Alcohol and weight gain: is booze making you fat?

Do you like downing a couple of alcoholic drinks at the end of a busy work day? Is having a glass or two of wine the thing that keeps you just a few kilos or pounds short of your “comfortable weight”? There have been many studies into the relationship between alcohol and weight gain, now DrugAbuse.com has put together a comprehensive infographic and web page to explain this in detail.

“Alcohol affects the brain by causing vision, speech, judgment and reasoning problems,” the say….well we all know that, but the news could be far worse. “These types of side effects may cause some individuals to eat less, forget to eat, overeat or eat foods that they would normally avoid,” says this study on micro bacteria in the gut.

“Forgetting to eat properly can quickly lead to weight loss, but overeating can also lead to weight gain, obesity, type 2 diabetes and other conditions such as heart disease,” the study says.

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Weight gain or loss – both are bad for your health

It’s just not always apparent exactly how alcohol abuse could affect your weight. As these studies mention, weight gain or weight loss could occur, but both are negatives in the case of your body’s reaction to overuse of alcohol.

“Alcohol abuse not only disrupts the body’s ability to extract nutrients from food and transport them to different parts of the body, but it also causes intestinal damage,” says this study into the effect of alcohol into gastrointestinal disease. “When the intestines become irritated, digestive processes either slow down or stop and this may lead to a loss of appetite, constipation and an intestinal blockage. All of these symptoms cause people to eat less and begin to lose weight.”

Alcohol can raise your blood sugar and then convert to fat

If you are someone who is prone to gaining weight easily, there are even stronger reasons to avoiding alcohol. Drinking can raise your blood sugar, and the extra energy can be converted into fat if you remain inactive.

“Alcohol abuse leads to obesity and type 2 diabetes is the result of persistently high blood sugar levels. Overeating means fats and carbohydrates are being consumed faster than the body can break them down and excrete the waste.”

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In effect, sugar gets left in the blood (glucose) where the liver cannot process it, as it tries to remove the alcohol in the body’s system. “As a result, obesity in combination with uncontrolled sugar levels can eventually also cause type 2 diabetes.”

Remember too that when a person is diagnosed with diabetes, this becomes a life-long condition that they then have to manage. The solution is simple: cut back. “Refraining from drinking alcohol can slow down the progression of the disease,” says DrugAbuse.com. “Steps should be taken early to avoid the harmful effects of alcohol abuse.”

If you like a tipple at the end of the day, here are some ways to cut back:

  1. Drink flavoured mineral water instead
  2. Drink something sweet when you first get home
  3. Spend 30 minutes meditating before beginning your dinner-cooking routine
  4. Get off the bus or train early and walk the last few blocks to your door
  5. Get more fresh air
  6. Use strong spices in your cooking, a sensory experience can help to distract you

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