The relationship between body weight and drinking excessive alcohol is complex, involving not only the amount and type of alcohol consumed, but also drinking patterns and gender among others.
Now most of us must have noticed the common phenomena of men sporting that expanding midriff.
Popularly called beer belly, is often caused by bad lifestyle and alcohol drinking habit.
Men particularly are more likely to store fat in their gut, obviously there are certain lifestyle habits that contributes to weight accumulation in the middle in men.
The inflated firm belly is the sign of overabundance of visceral fat. Visceral fat resides just under the skin on the abdomen, hips, thighs and arms.
Obviously, eating more calories than burning off will cause weight gain but what in particular causes men to pile on the pounds in such a specific way?
Well the answer is down to two things apparently – gender and age. After about the age of 35 most men’s metabolisms start to slow down.
While men tend to put weight on their bellies, women’s fat stores commonly go on their backside and hips.
According to a study published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, people who drink heavily when they’re younger have a higher risk of gaining excess weight.
When we talk about drinking heavily it is around 8 glasses or more per week. Those who drink this kind of amount, can easily become overweight or obese when they’re older.
How drinking excessive alcohol can lead to weight gain
1] Reduced Fat Burning:
If you are sober,your liver would work hard at metabolizing and burning fat cells, which helps maintain or lower your existing weight.
However, when you your liver has to switch gears to metabolize the alcohol instead.
This creates what researchers call “fat sparing,” or a buildup of fatty acids as your liver processes the calories in the alcohol first, sparing the fat from being metabolized.
Excess alcohol turns to fat in your liver and can raise the amount of fat in your blood.
2] Increased Caloric Intake:
It is a law of nature: you will gain weight if you don’t burn all the calories that you consume on a daily basis. And a single bottle or can of beer can contain a lot of empty calories.
The average regular beer has almost 155 calories, while a glass of wine has about 120 calories.
All these calories are deceptively easy to consume and can lead to a steady weight gain if you don’t practice some weight management strategies like healthy eating and regular exercising.
3] Increased Appetite:
If you find yourself craving food after a couple of rounds of beer well that’s not your imagination. Beer and other alcoholic beverages stimulate the appetite.
Snacking and eating can lead to weight gain that is indirectly related to the beer itself.
Additionally, the alcohol in beer may lower your inhibitions, causing you to eat foods that you wouldn’t normally eat or cause you to stray further from your diet than you may have planned.
Drinking excessively can lead to weight gain
Tips to prevent weight gain while enjoying your drink
1. Drink slow and steady
You can avoid drinking excessive alcohol by sipping slowly your drink, and enjoying the flavours.
The more slowly you drink any alcoholic beverage, the more time you give your body to metabolize it. In fact, slow drinking can also increase your sense of being full as well.
2. Be mindful of accompaniments
Besides the calories in your drink, the added calories come from the ‘snacks’ that accompany your drink.
Also drinking excessive alcohol reduces your perception about hunger and portions. So you end up eating more. A good idea is to take your drink with your dinner.
3. Drink water before, during and after
Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it will cause us to become dehydrated.
But, if we drink water before, during and after drinking beer or whiskey we can keep our body hydrated. It will keep us from feeling thirsty and prompt us to drink slowly.
4. Eat proteins
High-protein meals can stimulate the liver and delay gastric emptying, reducing alcohol entering the bloodstream to under 40 percent.
This means that when you are drinking excessive alcohol, try to eat a good meal with lots of protein. It can cut the potential damage of alcohol in half. Indulging in protein before or during drinking can help curb how many glasses you drink in one sitting.
Protein is a satiating macro-nutrient and has a thermic effect of food (TEF) of 20 to 30 percent, which means 20 to 30 percent of the calories in protein are used when the body’s processing it.
A protein-rich meal before drinking will control blood alcohol levels.Protein is effective in decreasing the absorption rate and increasing the elimination rate of alcohol.
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