Have you noticed that at various holidays and parties there is usually much more food on the table than alcohol? There are several dishes for each bottle. Have you ever wondered why this is so? Why do people start to eat a lot while drinking?
Yes, at first glance the answer is obvious: “people eat a lot so as not to get drunk quickly and fall under the table”. But then why isn’t this food being processed as it should be? Why do alcoholics often become obese? Let’s find out.
How does drinking make us fatter?
Alcohol can lead to weight gain in several ways:
- The first problem is its high caloric content, in which it is second only to fat. One gram of pure alcohol has 7 calories. Obviously, the stronger the drink, the more caloric it is. And if it’s a cocktail, syrups and cream add calories. So a glass of wine has about 100 calories, and one serving of a pina colada cocktail has about 300 calories;
- Secondly, alcohol is absorbed in a special way. Ethanol is poison to the body, and it seeks to get rid of the alcohol and process it in the liver as quickly as possible. Therefore, it will break down the alcohol and use the calories released first. Alcohol becomes the priority source of energy. As long as alcohol is processed in the body, fats and carbohydrates are not used as energy and can be deposited more easily in fat. Thus, alcohol does not turn into fat directly, but makes it easier for other nutrients to turn into fat;
- Third point. Where there is alcohol, there is almost always a lot of food – fatty, carbohydrate and caloric (meat or cheese delicacies for wine, chips or chicken wings in a deep fryer for beer). And all of this people put into their mouths with a powerful zeal to snack on the taste of alcohol and stay no drunk longer;
- Fourth point: not only does alcohol not satiate us, but it also makes us eat more, that is, it increases our appetite. This effect is not yet well understood, but it is thought that alcohol acts on the central neurotransmitter systems that are responsible for motivation and reward;
- Also, alcohol’s ability to stimulate appetite varies from person to person. While one or two glasses of wine may have no effect on one person, another will start sweeping away the fridge. Therefore, regular abuse will obviously lead to overweight;
- Sixth, alcohol reduces self-control. And all of the above simply leaves us no chance of not overeating.
So now not to drink at all?
Everything is good in moderation. If you drink and eat a lot every day, of course you get fat. If you drink alcohol a couple of times a week and eat a healthy diet, your weight will stay the same.
If a person takes care of himself most of the time and is in a real calorie deficit, nothing can make him gain fat out of thin air, not even alcohol.
Alan Aragon has done a good compilation of studies on the topic. For example, a systematic review of studies from 1984-2010 showed that moderate alcohol consumption was not associated with overweight, except for abusers.
In another study, participants ate 1500 calories for three months. One group got 10 percent of their calories from white wine and the other group got 10 percent from grape juice. Researchers found no difference in body composition between the two groups. Although it does not reach statistical significance, the “wine” group had even slightly more weight loss.
In another study, researchers also found no change in body weight or fat despite adding two glasses of red wine to dinner for six weeks.
Moderate wine consumption (190 ml five days a week for 20 weeks) did not improve or worsen insulin sensitivity, nor did it change weight and body composition, blood lipids, or blood pressure in overweight women.
But a recent systematic review and meta-analysis of 47 studies found that drinking more than 500 ml per day was associated with increased abdominal fat, although scientists have many questions there as well.
What kind of alcohol could we choose so as not to get fat?
Dietology experts recommend giving preference to red dry wine. If this drink does not suit your taste or causes unhealthy feelings, it is better to consume pure alcoholic beverages: gin, vodka, tequila. Again, if they are allowed to you.
At the same time, it is very important not to wash down or dilute the drink with liquids that contain sugar. Thus, all juices, carbonated sweet water and syrups will have to forget about all those who want to lose weight.
Dietitians also give some advice to those who want to be in shape, but from time to time consumes alcohol: Preference should be given to drinks with the least amount of calories (information on the caloric content is listed on the packaging of the goods). You should be especially careful about the consumption of liquors. And it is better to refuse them at all. It is better to drink low-calorie beer.
As a snack, it is better to choose healthy foods, ideally fresh vegetables. Small portions of water drunk between alcoholic drinks will help to avoid abuse.