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Alcohol and Weight Gain

Alcohol & Holiday Weight Gain

It’s that special time of year when families gather to enjoy a Holiday feast, but it is also time to watch out for weight gain from alcohol consumption. During the holiday season, beverages like butterscotch rum and bourbon eggnog will often pour freely. But before indulging, consider the potential for alcohol weight gain. Even the fastest of metabolisms falter during this time of year, and patients struggling with weight loss, or who have recently had weight loss surgery, should be aware of correlation between weight gain and alcohol.


Myths About Alcohol

One of the more common myths about alcohol is that it alone makes people fat. It is not just the alcohol that causes weight gain. In fact, much of the problem is more about what we mix with the alcohol. Caloric intake can more than doubles when using mixers containing excess sugar. Artificial lime sours for margaritas, sugary liqueurs and even butter can be used in cocktails, which play a huge role in alcohol weight gain. Calories in alcoholic beverages are drastically increased when fats and sugars are intentionally added. But, even that friendly glass of vino isn’t really a true friend, as one glass of wine can contain as many calories as a slice of cake. And, a pint of lager might as well be a slice of pizza.

However, even though the calories in alcohol can be minimized with slightly adjusted recipes, it doesn’t change the fact that alcohol inhbits liver function


The Metabolism and Holiday Weight Gain

No one wants to slow down their metabolism, but with alcohol, that is exactly what happens. Since the body can’t store alcohol, the liver wants to process (metabolize) it first, even before fatty foods.  Fats actually become stored while the liver focuses on the more toxic danger of alcohol. This slows the metabolism and fosters a metabolic environment that is the exactly the opposite of the body after exercise, which is that of a fat burning machine.

Bottom line? Slowing of the metabolism is a crucial consideration when it comes to alcohol weight gain issues. While calories in alcohol can be limited with hard liquors alone, alcohol itself distracts the liver from metabolizing important fats and nutrients that we get from food. So, beware the Eggnog, as holiday weight gain isn’t only from mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie!

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