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Alcohol Effects On Metabolism, Weight and Physique

October 11, 2018

Alcohol itself doesn’t bloat your waistline, but the changes it causes in your body can lead to weight gain. In other words, it’s important to understand alcohol effects on the body, and to be mindful whenever you hit the bottle. Here are the alcohol facts you need to know.


How Alcohol Affects Your Metabolism

Before we go further, it’s important to understand that alcohol is a toxin: your body has no way of storing it. Because of this, every time you drink, your body’s top priority is purging itself of all the alcohol you’ve ingested, rather than dealing with other foods you’ve eaten. In other words, while alcohol has a faster metabolic rate than food, it’s only because your body shuts down other caloric processing to get back into balance.


How Alcohol Affects Your Caloric Intake

One other problem is that no one’s drinking 100% alcohol. To improve its taste, we include just a small percentage of it in our wine, beer, and other drinks. Alcohol itself contains a small amount of calories, so a shot glass of distilled spirits can cost you about 100 calories. Switch to heavy beers or fruity cocktails, and those calories can easily jump to 200+ per serving. And remember, your body’s not even processing anything that isn’t toxic alcohol at the moment, so any other calories you eat are just lingering in the wings!


How Alcohol Affects Your Decisions

One other consideration to keep in mind is that alcohol affects your thought processing as well. Alcohol itself may not cause weight gain, but alcohol does get you drunk…and drunk (and hungover) you sometimes makes bad decisions.


Let’s consider what happens while you drink. As we said above, your body’s purging itself of alcohol as you hit the bottle. At the same time, you’re suffering from the munchies, and your lowered impulse control makes you prone to snacking on sugar-laden, high-calorie foods you might normally avoid.


Now, let’s consider what happens after you drink. During the metabolizing process, your liver is depleted of its glycogen stores—meaning you have fewer carbohydrates on hand to fuel your day, you’re susceptible to lower blood sugar, and you’ll have less endurance if you do hit the gym later.


And hitting the gym is probably up in the air: no one’s excited to jump into a workout mid-hangover, so we often just don’t. All of this can add up to a decreased likelihood that we’ll hit the gym at all the following day, allowing those calories we drank and ate to accumulate.


You can certainly enjoy a healthy dose of alcohol without worrying about wearing it, as long as you keep in mind how it affects your body. Make smart choices, like diluting the effects of alcohol with water, and saving your calories for later if you like to binge after drinking.

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