Three ways alcohol is making you fatter


It’s Christmas. It’s the time when we tend to overeat, overdrink and overmerry. Ok I made some of those words up. You know what I mean. Whilst I enjoy the odd tipple myself I have shredded any excess abdominal fat I had before and I think this is partly due to drastically reducing my alcohol intake. wine-1328532-639x802

I used to have at least three bottles of beer and probably the best part of two to three bottles of wine the husband and I shared weekly plus additional, occasional spirits. This was my average weekly intake without additional nights out etc. I’ve never been much of a ‘binge’ drinker due to really not enjoying being ‘drunk’ but I knew I was drinking far more than was recommended or safe. I made a number of excuses about how this was ok though. I deserved to relax, I was a healthy eater and exerciser so it wouldn’t have any real negative impact. I honestly believed my healthy body would cushion me from any of the ill effects of the alcohol I was consuming.

Then I was completely sober for a month and awoke to the startling effect that alcohol had been having on my body which I had ignored.

No disturbed sleep, no hangovers, fuzzy mornings, lethargy and sneezing fits or blocked sinuses (something which often occurred after wine in particular) and a much leaner torso with a loss of abdominal fat.

Why was I allowing myself to indulge to the extent I was? I came to the conclusion it was purely habit. I chose not to return to that habit. I still drink occasionally but no longer regularly and I am careful about what I consume. When you consider the obvious, physical effects it is clear that the hidden consequences are as drastic.

I’m sure most of my readers already know about the dangers of alcohol to the immune system, to the liver and that alcohol is fattening but do you know WHY it is so fattening? Possibly not…

Firstly, alcohol has all the calories but none of the value of the macronutrients: protein, carbohydrates and fats, therefore, the alcohol adds to the body’s energy intake but contributes nothing other than calorific content. Excess energy is stored eventually as fat and excess energy consumed as alcohol is stored faster than the equivalent of a macronutrient with nutritional value. Add to that the concentration of the alcohol, the ease with which it is consumed and the additional soft drinks and mixers it is consumed with, and alcohol becomes a fat storage powerhouse.

Secondly, alcohol is broken down by enzymes and metabolised eventually into acetaldehyde. Acetaldehyde is then further broken down into aldehyde dehydrogenase or ALDH for short. What you need to know about ALDH is that it is involved in the metabolism of certain fats such as cholesterol and some other fatty acids. Basically the chemical by product of the breakdown of alcohol in your liver is telling your body to store fat. The alcohol is effectively encouraging your body to make you fatter.

Add to this double whammy the suppressant effect that alcohol has on the brain and the increased likelihood of choosing high-fat snacks to accompany your drink and you have the perfect recipe for creating a very stubborn ‘beer’ belly or ‘wine’ waist

  • Alcohol is calorie dense but nutrient scarce. This encourages fat storage.
  • Alcohol then instructs your body, via enzymes from the chemical metabolism of the alcohol, to store the fat quicker.
  • Finally you add high calorie and sugar mixers and fat laden crisps or late night kebabs and bingo! Hello Belly Goodbye Slim Torso.

Just thought you might like to know… Cheers!!





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