Why Do I Lose Weight When I Drink Alcohol
Alcohol can change the way your body burns fat. When you drink, your body is more focused on breaking down alcohol rather than burning fat. Also, instead of burning fat, your body is burning the calories from the alcohol, so it can take you longer to lose weight.
I’ve been drinking for years and have never had a problem with my weight. But then last year, something changed. For months at a time, I was out every night having one beer after another. Then, all of sudden, I started losing weight! I lost 10 pounds in about 6 weeks. I couldn’t figure out why this was happening. And when I finally did find an answer, I wasn’t happy with it.
It’s true that if you’re looking to lose some pounds, there are lots of ways to do it. You can go on crash diets or exercise like crazy. Or maybe you’ll just try cutting back on how much you eat each day. Whatever method you choose, chances are good that it will work. The only thing is, what works best for me may not be right for you. Some people want to cut their caloric intake; others want to burn off extra calories by exercising. So which approach should you consider? Well, actually both approaches might help you drop those extra pounds — but they won’t necessarily give you the same results.
When you diet, your goal is to reduce overall calorie consumption without changing your eating habits too drastically. Dieters who use extreme measures such as skipping meals or starving themselves often end up binging later because their bodies think food has become scarce. This can lead them into a dangerous cycle where they restrict their caloric intake to lose weight faster, but then eventually sabotage their progress by over-indulging.
On the other hand, folks who simply walk around with a snack while watching television tend to overeat because they aren’t trying to get rid of anything. They don’t feel deprived, so they keep snacking throughout the rest of the evening. In fact, studies show that people who snack more during the day consume nearly 50 percent more total calories per day.
So which kind of dieting strategy is better? There really isn’t a right or wrong answer here. Both methods can help you lose weight, but they will likely take different amounts of time to see results. If you’d prefer to lose weight quickly, you could always combine these two strategies. Just make sure you don’t starve yourself and snack frequently, otherwise you might start gaining again before long.
If you’re interested in using a combination of dieting techniques, we’ve got plenty of advice to share. To learn more, check out our articles on diet plans and healthy snacks.
Now let’s talk about why alcohol can cause weight gain. It turns out that when most of us drink, our bodies aren’t thinking about weight loss. Instead, they focus on getting drunk and staying sober enough to drive home safely. We also need regular drinks to stay alert, so it makes sense that a lot of times, we drink more than we ever would normally. Our bodies know this, and adjust its metabolism accordingly.
One theory says that drinking causes a release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that controls appetite. Another states that drinking triggers the production of insulin, which tells cells to store any excess sugar as fat. Still another suggests that drinking leads to increased activity within areas of the brain associated with reward and pleasure. In short, the more we drink, the less concerned our bodies seem to be about controlling our appetites.
In addition to affecting our natural desire to limit calories, alcohol can affect the way our bodies respond to certain hormones. A study published in Obesity Research found that men who drank three or four alcoholic beverages per week were 40 percent more likely to have high levels of leptin, a hormone that signals the presence of stored fat [sources: Mottillo, Mottillo]. Other researchers believe that alcohol interferes with estrogen’s ability to suppress the appetite of women. Estrogen is known to increase hunger pangs, so consuming alcohol can counteract the effects of estrogen and promote higher levels of appetite-stimulating ghrelin. Women are especially susceptible to this effect because we naturally produce smaller amounts of estrogen than men.
Because of alcohol’s many effects on hormones, it can trigger changes in the body’s metabolic rate. One study showed that men who consumed moderate amounts of alcohol experienced a significant decrease in resting energy expenditure (REE), the amount of calories needed just to maintain basic bodily functions. Because REE helps determine how many calories we use at rest, this means that drinkers expend fewer calories even when they’re sleeping. In addition, research shows that alcohol can slow gastric emptying, meaning that it takes longer for our stomachs to process nutrients once we finish eating. As digestion slows down, we may begin to experience cravings for foods that provide quick bursts of energy, such as sugary treats and salty chips.
The bottom line is that alcohol affects your body differently depending upon your gender. While it can certainly interfere with your attempts to control your appetite, the exact mechanism responsible varies widely among individuals. That’s why you shouldn’t expect to stop craving cheeseburgers just because you drink. Your own unique set of circumstances needs to be considered when deciding whether or not to indulge. After all, no two people are exactly alike, and everyone reacts to alcohol differently.
To learn more about alcohol and weight loss, look through related topics in our directory.
Not all fats are bad for you. Healthy fats include monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. These types of fats lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and raise HDL (“good”) cholesterol. Trans fats, however, are unhealthy fats that contribute to heart disease.
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