Drinking alcohol in moderation may provide some positive health outcomes. For example, red wine may offer some degree of protection from many diseases, including heart diseases. However, it is equally true that alcohol consumption - particularly in excessive amounts - could very well lead to several health risks, and it CAN spoil your weight loss journey. If you're looking to lose the unwanted flab and gain a trimmer midsection, you may want to skip your drinks. Read on as we try to answer this frequently asked question: How can alcohol cause weight gain and accumulation of excess belly fat?
Alcohol can affect your weight and shape in many ways. It increases your appetite, delays your body's ability to break down fat, and leads to unhealthy food choices and impulsive snacking. Let's discuss each step.
Alcohol increases appetite
One of the main reasons alcohol leads to progressive unwanted weight gain is its ability to make us feel hungry. It does so by suppressing the leptin hormone, which is tied to satiety or the feeling of being full. Results of the research revealed that the level of leptin decreases considerably after alcohol consumption. Some research studies also indicate that alcohol content may stimulate nerve cells in the brain’s hypothalamus that increase appetite (Source)
Alcohol restricts your body from burning fat
Alcohol hinders your body's fat-burning system. When you drink alcohol, your body's focus is directed to processing it, and it cannot break down fat and carbohydrate-rich foods. You cannot choose where these calories should go. Your body converts those calories into body fat, which are then deposited in the abdominal area. Excess abdominal fat in males is believed to cause 'beer belly'.
Alcohol leads to unhealthy food choices
Many people enjoy alcohol because it relaxes their inhibitions, which is more likely to trigger impulsive eating behaviors and poor food choices. When we stop prioritizing healthy foods in the influence of alcohol, gorging on fatty and greasy foods seems all the easier. While this unhealthy relationship with food contributes to fat gain over time, binge eating also leads to negative physical and emotional changes. Again, it's important to remember that being diuretic, alcohol can make your body lose water, and with the loss of water, you can lose important minerals too.
While alcohol consumption can lead to the accumulation of belly fat, certain factors like which type of drink you take, how often you drink, how much you drink, and which foods you eat when you drink may have their respective influences in deciding alcohol's contribution to weight gain.
It's time to cut down
More long-term studies are required to gather more insights about the relationship between alcohol and weight gain, but because excessive and regular alcohol consumption can lead to many serious health issues, it's always better to drink in moderation and follow a healthy drink session. For example, if you must enjoy a drink at an event, you may want to try a low-calorie alcoholic drink. But if you are truly serious about losing belly fat and keeping it off, you should cut down on drinking.
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