Does Whiskey Make You Fat
Whisky can make you fat if the other variables make you vulnerable to gain weight. Whisky will not make you fat if you are conscious of every other choice you make. The quantity of whisky you drink, the frequency of such drinking, your overall health, lifestyle, diet and history of obesity are major influencing factors. Any calorie rich food or beverage can make you fat.
I used to be a heavy drinker for many years. I started early in my career as an engineer when I was still living at home with my parents. It was a time before alcohol became socially taboo so it wasn’t considered “manly” to get drunk. My father has been known to enjoy his whiskey straight up on occasion. He even made me try it once. I found it tasted like medicine and I hated it.
This is what I know about alcoholism: If you have any predisposition towards this disease, you’ll likely succumb to it. There’s no way around it. Your genes determine your susceptibility to certain diseases. This is true for all forms of addiction including drug addiction, gambling addiction, sex addiction, etc…
The same holds true for alcoholism. Alcoholism is essentially a brain disorder based on genetic predisposition. There are two types of alcoholism – one type that develops gradually (referred to as chronic) and another type that develops suddenly (called acute). Chronic alcoholism usually begins in adulthood whereas acute alcoholism typically starts during adolescence or young adulthood. In both cases, there is an underlying vulnerability to alcoholism.
So how does this apply to my story? Well, I was susceptible to developing an “acute” form of alcoholism. I had several bouts of acute alcoholism over the course of my life. Each bout lasted anywhere from 2 weeks to 3 months and each ended with me feeling helpless. During those periods, it seemed like anything would trigger me to drink more than usual.
If someone asked me why I drank so much, I’d say it was because I liked having fun. But I didn’t really enjoy myself while I was drinking; I just enjoyed the temporary relief it provided me from stress and anxiety. Over time, the effects of excessive drinking wore down my immune system which led to problems with my liver, heart and lungs. Eventually, I developed cirrhosis of the liver, a condition where scar tissue replaces healthy liver cells, leading to damage of internal organs.
In addition to being overweight, I suffered from depression and anxiety disorders. When I was sober, these conditions were worse than they ever were when I was intoxicated. So I could blame my drinking problem on them but that wouldn’t help me unless I changed something within myself.
I eventually quit drinking altogether after suffering from severe headaches and nausea for 7 months. I saw doctors who couldn’t find anything wrong with me. At the same time, my wife noticed that I gained weight despite exercising regularly. She suggested I cut back on calories and take better care of myself. That’s when I decided to start writing articles like the one you’re reading now.
Why did I become obese? Why do some people struggle with gaining excess weight while others don’t? What makes some people susceptible to overeating? Is it possible to avoid becoming obese? These questions and more are answered in the following article.
Factors That Influence How Much We Eat And How Obese We Become:
There are numerous things that influence our eating habits and propensity to become obese. Here are some of the most important ones.
1. Genetics – Our genetics play a significant role in determining whether we develop obesity or not. Obesity is caused by multiple gene variations and mutations. Certain ethnic groups are predisposed to carry specific gene variants that increase their risk for obesity. For example, African-Americans tend to have higher levels of leptin, a hormone that regulates appetite and energy metabolism. On the other hand, Caucasians generally have lower amounts of this hormone. In addition, Asians also have low levels of this hormone. Therefore, these populations tend to eat less and suffer from fewer episodes of hunger pangs.
2. Culture – Our environment greatly influences our eating habits and behavior. Fast foods are readily available everywhere in America. Some cultures believe that overeating is normal. Other cultures frown upon such gluttony. Most Americans love fast foods and consume too much carbohydrates. A few decades ago, the average American consumed only 5% of his/her caloric intake from carbohydrates. Today, however, that percentage has skyrocketed to 25%. Such changes in dietary patterns lead to dramatic increases in obesity rates.
3. Lifestyle – Our lifestyles heavily impact our eating habits. Those who spend hours sitting at work desktops tend to snack frequently throughout the day. They may eat chips, crackers, cookies, cakes and ice cream without thinking twice about their choices. However, those who engage in physical activities such as playing sports or walking outdoors are more apt to burn off extra calories via exercise and shed unwanted pounds.
4. Diet – Our diets greatly effect how much we eat and how obese we become. Eating large meals often leads to consuming more calories. Conversely, skipping breakfast causes us to feel hungrier later in the day which leads to overeating unhealthy snacks. Another factor that influences how much we eat includes the amount of water we drink. Drinking lots of fluids helps suppress our appetite. Water is especially effective when combined with small portions of protein and fiber. Fiber fills us up and slows digestion which reduces the desire to overindulge.
5. Sleep – Lack of sleep affects how much we eat and how obese we become. People who wake up hungry and tired crave junk foods such as chips, candy bars and other high glycemic index food items. Also, lack of sleep disrupts hormonal balance which promotes cravings for sugary and fatty food items.
6. Age – Aging tends to cause weight gain due to reduced activity level and muscle mass loss. As muscles lose strength, they become weaker and unable to perform daily tasks effectively. Consequently, older adults are more prone to falls and injuries. This prevents them from engaging in regular physical activities. Muscle mass loss further weakens the ability of aging individuals to maintain good posture. Reduced mobility also contributes to poor sleeping habits and increased snacking between meals.
7. Gender – Men and women differ significantly in terms of how much they eat and how obese they become. Women tend to eat smaller portion sizes than men. Further, studies show that female hormones can influence eating behaviors and body composition. For instance, estrogen stimulates appetite and enhances insulin sensitivity thereby promoting glucose uptake in fat tissues. Estrogen deficiency leads to elevated levels of testosterone which stimulate lipogenesis (the process of producing new fat cells). Testosterone also inhibits the production of leptin which decreases fat burning capacity.
8. Ethnicity – Ethnicities differ widely in terms of their eating habits and propensity to become obese. Caucasians tend to eat larger portions sizes compared to other ethnicities. Asians also consume more proteins and fats per meal compared to other races. Black race consumes more carbohydrate than Caucasian race. Lastly, Hispanics and Native Americans eat more vegetables and fruits per meal compared to non-Hispanic whites.
9. Environment – Our environments greatly affect our eating habits and propensity to become obese. Living in urban areas allows us to indulge in more trans-fats and saturated fats compared to rural dwellers. Furthermore, city dwelling exposes us to environmental pollutants (such as air pollution) that contribute to obesity. In addition, modern technology encourages sedentary lifestyles which promote obesity. Modern televisions encourage passive viewing rather than active engagement.
10. Personality – Our personalities strongly influence our eating habits and propensity to become obese. Someone who loves sweets and desserts may find it difficult to resist junk food. Similarly, someone who hates spicy food may end up gorging on greasy fried chicken wings or mozzarella sticks. Studies indicate that personality plays a significant role in predicting future obesity. For instance, extroverts eat more salty snacks and processed meats while introverts prefer salads.
11. Stress – Our stressful lifestyles cause us to seek comfort foods which leads to overeating. While moderate amounts of stress may actually benefit our bodies, extreme stress triggers the release of adrenaline which elevates blood pressure and heart rate. Adrenaline prompts the secretion of cortisol which signals the release of stored sugar into bloodstream thus triggering binge eating.
12. Religion – Religious beliefs greatly influence our eating habits and propensity to become obese. Muslims tend to consume more pork products than Christians. Buddhists abstain from meat, dairy products and eggs. Hindu ascetics completely refrain from eating animal flesh and fish.
13. Illness – Illnesses such as diabetes mellitus, hypothyroidism and cancer can indirectly promote weight gain through medications prescribed to treat the illness or side effects associated with the illness. Common examples of such drugs include anti-diabetic medications, thyroid replacement therapy and chemotherapy drugs respectively.
14. Addictions – Addictive substances such as nicotine, caffeine, marijuana and cocaine can directly induce weight gain primarily by increasing serotonin levels in the brain. These chemicals activate receptors located on neurons that control feeding behavior. Stimulation of such receptors results in feelings of pleasure and relaxation. Nicotine and cocaine users experience euphoria similar to natural opiates produced naturally by the human brain. Marijuana smokers feel relaxed and sleepy. Cocaine users feel jittery and alert. All three classes of addictive substances produce similar effects on the brain.
15. Sex – Sex also directly induces weight gain by stimulating sexual arousal. Sexual arousal activates endorphin production which produces pleasurable feelings. Endorphins are neurotransmitters released by the central nervous system to facilitate communication among neurons. Elevated levels of endorphins in the brain prompt craving for more sexual contact. Oftentimes, sex addicts switch
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