Can Drinking Alcohol Make You Fat?


3 Answers

Yo Kass Profile
Yo Kass answered
The question of whether alcohol contributes to weight gain has always been a burning issue.

The answer is unfortunately that it does - although working out the way this happens and to what degree alcohol is responsible for those extra calories is a little less straightforward.

How does drinking alcohol make you fat? For many people, drinking alcohol and losing weight are the main objectives of life. In this context, the idea that the two could be working against each other is pretty bad news.

The most direct way alcohol will encourage you to pile on the pounds is through the calories that are contained in alcohol and alcoholic beverages. Consider this:
  • A small glass (125ml) of Campo Viejo Rioja will add 85 calories to your daily intake.
  • A pint of Budweiser will whack a considerable 227 calories onto your love handles.
Drinking alcohol and gaining weight The bad news doesn't stop there. When your body processes alcohol, it essentially turns it into a type of vinegar. The calories in this vinegar are burnt off before your body starts using up the calories from other dietary sources (fat, sugar).

What this means for your waist is that your body may not be using up the energy from the bacon and cheese pasta you had for lunch, or the Reece's Pieces you snacked on because it's already got all the energy it needs from the glass of Cabernet Sauvignon you were sipping on earlier.
Whilst all this doesn't necessarily mean that you are going to put on weight when you drink alcohol, it does mean that you'll need to be extra careful about what you eat if you plan to drink regularly.

High alcohol high fat diet Research shows that the most efficient way to rack on the pounds is to follow a high fat and high alcohol diet. This is because alcohol also interferes in the body's ability to burn fat. Chowing down on high fat food whilst alcohol is in your system is a guaranteed way to get fat.

Based on this, you'd think no-one would ever contemplate following such a diet. You'd be wrong!
If you were to visit any fast-food outlet on a Saturday night (after all the bars and clubs have closed), you'd likely come across a throng of inebriated individuals munching on fried chicken, burgers, kebabs and the likes, oblivious to the fact that all the fat in their drunken meals is being fas-tracked straight to the hips!
Julii Brainard Profile
Julii Brainard answered
Yes, and by more mechanisms than in other foods.

There are the calories in the alcohol itself. If these are excess to the body's requirements, the body will store the energy as fat. That's what the body does with any food.

Alcohol has a few other pitfalls though, for the would-be dieter. It loosens up your inhibitions and self-control. So it encourages you to "relax" and just nibble a bit more, last thing you need on a weight loss regime!

It also is relatively empty of calories. There aren't a lot of nutrients in alcohol. So you can drink enough for your calorie needs, but your body is still wanting "more": More protein, fats, vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates. So basically, you're still hungry even though you might have had enough calories from the booze alone.

On top of all that, alcohol has one more devious trick. It gets split into acetate and fat in the bloodstream. The body loves acetate as a fuel source and uses it in preference to carbohydrates, fats, protein, etc.. The body will just run (badly) on the acetate and deposit all the other stuff down as ... Fat.
Christy Muller Profile
Christy Muller answered

The only thing that will ever make you fat is taking in more calories than your body needs to maintain itself.

How do you know how many calories your body needs to maintain it's current weight?

Bodyweight(in pounds) x 15.

So if you weigh 150 pounds...that is 150 x 15 = 2,250 calories/day.

Now the average beer is about 200 calories, so if what you normally eat for the day amounts to 2000 calories as a 150 pound person, and you finish the day off with 3 beers, you're going to be in a calorie surplus and slowly put on weight.

The alcohol in and of itself is not going to make you fat.

it is just another substance you're ingesting that has a certain number of calories in it.

You could even drink alcohol and LOSE weight if your total calories falls below your maintenance.

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