Alcohol use—as a well-established part of human culture—is something that has become almost as acceptable as eating and breathing. As a social facilitator and feel good drug of choice for many, alcohol is very popular indeed, with consumption at mass levels. One effect of alcohol, which is not widely discussed, is its impact on body composition. In its purest form, ethyl alcohol, which supplies seven calories per gram, provides energy, bumping up ones total energy balance whenever it is consumed. Unlike macronutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins and fats, alcohol supplies what we often refer to as empty calories: calories without nutrition. To make matters worse, it is the first fuel to be used when combined with carbohydrates, fats and proteins, postponing the fat-burning process and contributing to greater fat storage.
4 Ways Alcohol Hinders Weight Loss
1. Alcohol Supplies Almost Twice As Many Calories As Protein And Carbs At seven calories per gram, alcohol supplies almost twice as many as protein and carbohydrates. In fact, alcohol has only two fewer calories than fat, which has nine per gram. It must also be remembered that the calories in alcohol lack the nutrients beneficial for a healthy metabolism and will therefore hasten fat storage. The calories found in the average alcoholic drink are quite concentrated compared to many foods, and this actually causes one to inadvertently take in many more calories than would otherwise be consumed. Alcohol is quite deceptive in that it passes through the system rapidly, often before the drinker is aware of the number of drinks they have had.
2. Alcohol Loosens The Inhibitions While drinking, people usually will not stop to consider the impact alcohol is having on their bodies; such is alcohol's affect on loosening the inhibitions. The result of this relaxed thinking could mean more calories consumed and extra body fat gains. Those drinking might also eat more of the wrong kinds of food, without thinking of the consequences. Alcohol tends to have an appetite stimulating effect as it provides little in the way of nutrition, leaving a craving for other foods at the time of consumption. Add this to the fact that fatty and salty foods tend to accompany most occasions featuring alcohol (as well as alcohol actually stimulating one's appetite for these kinds of foods), and the general loosening of resolve that goes with an inebriated mindset, and you have a recipe for excess fat gain. Alcohol has also been shown to affect motivation, making a healthy diet harder to stay on while it is being used.
3. Alcohol Can Damage The Stomach, Kidneys, And Liver Given alcohol is a by-product of yeast digestion; it can have an irritating effect on the lining of the stomach and gradually weaken the kidneys and liver, leading to serious health problems—even death in certain instances. Any weakening of the stomach will lessen the rate and efficiency at which food is digested, which ultimately interferes with a healthy metabolism and the weight loss process. The liver—which processes toxins and breaks down fats for fuel—is crucial when it comes to maintaining a healthy body composition. Alcohol is at its most destructive during the liver's detoxification process.
4. Alcohol Increases Appetite Touched on briefly in point two, alcohol can increase appetite, making the combination of alcohol and a fattening meal all the more worse. A study showed that alcohol consumed before a meal increased caloric intake to a far greater extent than did a carbohydrate drink.