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Alcohol can affect your weight loss journey in more ways than you can imagine. This article explores the various ways alcohol consumption can impact your weight loss goals, from increasing calorie intake to negatively affecting digestion and nutrient uptake. Alcoholic drinks are often referred to as “empty” calories as they contain calories but lack nutrients. Drinks that have mixers like fruit juice or soda, contain even more calories. Consuming alcoholic beverages inhibits proper digestive function leading to impaired digestion and absorption of nutrients, which can greatly affect the metabolism of organs that play a role in weight management.
When alcohol is consumed, it’s burned first as a fuel source before your body uses anything else, including glucose from carbohydrates or lipids from fats. When your body is using alcohol as a primary source of energy, excess glucose and lipids end up as adipose tissue or fat. Excess alcohol consumption can also lead to alcoholic fatty liver, which can damage your liver and affect the way your body metabolizes and stores carbohydrates and fats.
Alcohol consumption can contribute to excess belly fat, leading to the infamous “beer gut.” Consuming foods and drinks high in sugar can quickly lead to weight gain, and the body tends to accumulate fat in the abdominal area.
Moreover, alcohol affects judgment calls, leading to poor decision-making in the heat of the moment, especially when it comes to food choices. The effects of alcohol surpass even social drinking etiquette, as it can trigger hunger signals in the brain, leading to an increased urge to eat more food. Alcohol intake can affect levels of hormones in the body, especially testosterone, which plays a role in many metabolic processes, including muscle formation and fat-burning capabilities.
Furthermore, alcohol can lead to increased periods of wakefulness during sleep cycles, leading to sleep deprivation. This, whether from lack of sleep or impaired sleep, can lead to an imbalance in the hormones related to hunger, satiety, and energy storage.
Despite all these potential downsides, you don’t necessarily have to cut alcohol entirely out of your diet to watch your weight. Choosing low-calorie options such as vodka, whiskey, gin, tequila, and brandy can help you keep your calorie count in check. Avoiding sugary mixers and choosing simple alternatives, such as a martini, on the rocks or with olives, can make a difference. Remember, moderation is key, and balancing alcohol consumption with healthy eating and exercise habits can help you achieve your weight loss goals.