Does Drinking Alcohol Cause Weight Gain?

Maintaining a healthy weight isn’t all about food — we also need to factor in what we drink in a day. While a few celebratory drinks here and there certainly won’t significantly impact your weight, it’s more the daily alcohol habits we have that can play a role in both how we look and how we feel. If you’re curious whether drinking alcohol is causing weight gain, you can try abstaining for 3-4 weeks and see if any differences are noticed. For now, check out these top reasons as to how drinking alcohol may affect your weight.

Alcohol is High in Calories
Although there is more to health than calories, alcohol is generally higher in calories than other drinks, at 7 calories per gram. (For reference, both carbohydrates and protein have 4 calories per gram.) Plus, it’s typically the mixer that adds more calories (and sugar), so steering clear of fruity, tropical, or creamy drinks can help keep the calorie count lower. If you do drink, aim for light beers, champagne, dry wines, or clear liquor simply mixed with soda water and lime.

Alcohol Can Disrupt Fat-Burning
Because alcohol is so toxic when inside the body, your organs want to do everything they can to get rid of it quickly. This means that if you eat any food alongside your drink, your body will put the food on hold while eliminating the booze. If you’re eating a lot of food, this means that much of it will be stored in the body as fat rather than used for energy.

Alcohol Can Create Inflammation
Drinking alcohol can raise cortisol levels, which is our body’s primary stress hormone. In turn, high cortisol is linked to increased inflammation, as well as disruptions in some of our body’s other leading hormones.

Alcohol Can Lead to Unhealthy Food Choices
From pizza binges to loaded fries to late-night Taco Bell deliveries, many people have experienced that salads and smoothies are not the “drunk food” they’re craving after a long night out. So, even if the alcohol itself isn’t causing weight gain, it may be wise to look at your unhealthy food choices after a night of imbibing.

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