Visceral fat is tightly packed, and as it builds up, it pushes the abdominal wall outward, exaggerating the appearance of a beer belly. The abdominal wall itself is made of muscle and tough fibrous tissues, which makes it very firm. Your liver plays an important role in metabolizing proteins, carbohydrates and fats so your body can use them — but if given the choice, your liver would rather burn off alcohol than fat.

does alcohol make you gain weight

The reason for this is unclear, although it’s been suggested that wine drinkers have healthier, more balanced diets compared to beer and spirit drinkers (7, 36). This could be important since beer contains more calories than many other sources of alcohol. Nevertheless, drinking more than that could very well lead to significant weight gain over time. This means that drinking beer regularly could contribute a significant number of calories to your diet. Observational studies on the effect of alcohol intake on obesity date back almost 30 years [6].

The Truth About Alcohol And Weight Gain

Thus, we need to rely on short-term intervention studies and epidemiologic studies, each of which has clear limitations in showing an effect of alcohol intake on the vulnerability to gain weight. However, the preponderance of the evidence taken as a whole suggests that alcohol may be a risk factor for obesity in some individuals, especially when consumed in large quantities. In excess, alcohol consumption may cause adverse effects on your body, leading to weight gain. For example, alcohol may affect hormones that control appetite, hunger, and stress. Alcohol is high in calories and is likely to increase abdominal fat. Prospective studies have looked at the association between alcohol intake and adiposity gain in various populations, with follow-up periods ranging from several months to 20 years [4, 30, 31].

Still, the researchers noted that reducing alcohol intake led to less impulsivity, like overeating. High-calorie, high carb, and high sugar foods, when consumed with alcohol, will cause weight gain and a beer belly. The calories from alcohol won’t make you feel full leading you to eat more and more. The biggest tip is to have moderate drinking and avoid heavy drinking at all costs. 1 to 2 alcoholic beverages in a day should be able to be burned off by your body before they lead to weight gain.

Alcohol can affect your organs

For women, more than three drinks on any day or more than seven drinks a week is heavy drinking. For men, heavy drinking means more than four drinks on any day or more than 14 drinks a week. Drinking also adds calories that can contribute to weight gain. And drinking raises the risk of problems in the digestive system.

  • Alcohol inhibits fat oxidation, suggesting that frequent alcohol consumption could lead to fat sparing, and thus higher body fat in the long term [62].
  • So to recap where we are currently, you’ve just consumed anywhere from 1,000-2,000 calories at the pub, and now you’re inhaling another 1,500-2,000 calories of high fat, high sodium food.
  • Spirits, when drunk neat, can be one of the better choices for alcoholic drinks for losing body weight.
  • First, it has been found that alcohol intake increases energy expenditure, likely due in part to the fact that it has a high thermogenic effect [53].
  • According to the National Eating Disorders Association, some individuals may suffer both from anorexia and an alcohol use disorder.

This is important to note, since low levels of testosterone may increase your risk of weight gain, especially around the belly (30, 31, 32, 33). For example, people who drink moderate amounts of beer may also have healthier lifestyles than those who consume larger amounts (7). Furthermore, it’s been shown that people don’t always compensate for the calories they consume from alcohol by eating less of other foods instead (5, 6). Consuming foods and drinks high in sugar can quickly lead to weight gain.

Interferes with fat-burning

The alcohol calories (like the cost of the cocktails) would be added to the total calories from the meal. Beyond adding energy to a meal, alcohol may actually stimulate food intake [5]. Of the 17 studies reviewed by Yeomans, ten showed increased food intake following alcohol consumption [5]. It is unclear whether alcohol promotes food intake in the absence of hunger; however, it has been noted that alcohol may amplify individuals’ perception of appetite in response to food stimuli [5]. There’s a lack of evidence linking reduced alcohol consumption to weight loss. A study published in 2016 found that decreasing light-to-moderate alcohol consumption did not significantly affect weight loss.