Why Skipping Alcohol is Important for Weight Loss

Why Skipping Alcohol Is Important for Weight Loss

You may already suspect alcohol can sabotage your weight loss goals.  Drinking weakens your willpower – and more. Here are 5 important facts you need to know about alcohol to help you lose weight.

1) Alcohol is high in calories. Alcoholic drinks are full of calories. In fact, on average alcoholic drinks contain 7 calories per gram. To get a better idea of how much this is, protein and carbs contain 4 calories per gram.  You may be getting more calories than you realize from alcohol: as much as drinking a can of soda.

2) Alcohol may increase appetite, even for moderate drinkers.  Have you ever noticed that you eat more while you’re drinking? Several studies show that we are more likely to indulge when we are served food with beer or wine than with soda. Alcoholic drinks can irritate and wear away your stomach lining, which makes it vulnerable to the digestive acids. If you drink moderately to excessively, this can make you feel hungrier than you really are and encourage you to take larger portions of food.

3) Alcohol hinders fat-burning processes.   The body metabolizes alcohol first, which unbalances your body’s normal fat burning processes.

The liver is the body’s biggest fat burning organ.  Normally, the liver cells turn fatty acids into a form that the rest of the body uses. But, the liver is also the ONLY organ that can break down alcohol.  When alcohol arrives in the bloodstream, the liver must process it first.  The unprocessed fatty acids build up and clog the liver — a process observed even with just one bout of heavy drinking.

4) Alcohol encourages fat storage.  Your body doesn’t store everything the same way. Most of the time, fat is burned into fuel. Alcohol is converted into two substances: acetate, and acetyl CoA. Both make getting weight loss harder in different ways.

Acetate slows down the burning of fat. When your body produces too much acetate, it spends more time getting rid of it than the fat. This can lead to more fat being stored for longer. Acetyl CoA encourages the production of fat cells.

5) Alcohol weakens liver health.  Alcohol causes cell damage in the liver in complex ways.  Fat buildup in the liver is one harmful result.  Another cause comes from free radicals, or unstable molecules, which are created when the liver breaks down alcohol.  Acetaldehyde is the main product when alcohol breaks down.  It appears to be a major source of cell-damaging free radicals in the liver.

Weight control depends on having a healthy liver.  The liver makes or triggers all the body’s fat burning hormones. The healthier the liver, the better the fat burning power your body has.

Alcohol is bad news if you are trying to maintain a healthy weight!

Not only does it add extra calories. It hinders your body’s power to burn them off.  Skipping the cocktail helps you take one giant step closer to your weight loss goals.

About Dr. Betty Keller:

Dr. Betty Keller practices integrative medicine at the Optimal Wellness Center in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey.  She is a board certified doctor specializing in weight loss, chronic pain treatment, medical acupuncture and disease prevention, serving Franklin Lakes, Wyckoff, NJ, and nearby areas.