Holiday Reminder: Alcohol Weakens Willpower, Lowers Metabolism

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In honor of National Nutrition Month in November, Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment points out to anyone who is a calorie counter that drinking alcohol not only significantly increases caloric intake and diminishes will power, it also grinds metabolism to a screeching halt.

alcohol and weight gain

Research shows alcohol stimulates food intake and increases feelings of hunger.

"Imagine there’s a pause button that’s linked to your metabolism, which is pushed whenever alcohol is consumed," says Dr. John Larson, Medical Director, Gateway Treatment Centers.

In honor of National Nutrition Month in November, Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment points out to anyone who is a calorie counter that drinking alcohol not only significantly increases caloric intake and diminishes will power, it also grinds metabolism to a screeching halt.

Most people don’t realize drinking alcohol temporarily prevents the body from burning fat. Since the human body is unable to store calories consumed from alcohol the way it does calories taken in from food, drinking causes the metabolic system to stop whatever it’s doing in order to eliminate alcohol-laden libations from the body.

"Imagine there’s a pause button that’s linked to your metabolism, which is pushed whenever alcohol is consumed. Calories consumed earlier in the day are set aside or stored. Since alcohol requires undivided attention, it slows metabolism and limits the body’s ability to burn fat,” explains Dr. John Larson, Medical Director, Gateway Treatment Centers.

Practically twice as calorie-laden as carbohydrates or proteins, alcohol contains about 7 calories per gram. While it may be tempting to conveniently ignore calories consumed from alcohol in daily goal trackers, being honest may help encourage more conscientious choices in the future.

Ever realized drinking alcohol triggers the appetite, and perhaps an insatiable hunger even stretches into the following day? Studies have shown in the short term, alcohol stimulates food intake and can increase feelings of hunger. Consider these alcohol facts:

  •     When alcohol is consumed before a meal a person generally consumes 20% more calories from food during the meal. Plus, when you add in the calories consumed from alcohol during a meal, average caloric increase jumps to 33%.
  •     A study of more than 3,000 people showed consuming elevated amounts of alcohol is associated with abdominal obesity in men—aka the dreaded "beer belly."

Clearly, having judgment impaired with a stimulated appetite is a recipe for failure if trying to maintain weight or follow a weight-loss plan. Keep in mind, to avoid health risks and weight gain, follow moderate drinking guidelines—one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men—or deal with the consequences. If someone has a serious drinking problem, Gateway Treatment Centers can help. Call 877-505-HOPE (4673) to arrange a free, confidential consultation.

About Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment
Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers provide substance abuse treatment services for adults and adolescents at drug treatment centers throughout Illinois and the St. Louis Metro East area. Gateway’s inpatient and outpatient treatment centers are licensed by the state of Illinois and accredited by The Joint Commission. Each year, Gateway’s professional clinicians help thousands of individual's successfully complete treatment. To learn more, visit RecoverGateway.org.
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Kymberly Vasey
Gateway Foundation
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