It's not always as simple as the hidden cals in your cocktail.
A Christmans of endless eating got you feeling a little squishier than usual? Yeah, us too. However, while it seems obvious that regularly drinking sugar-laden cocktails and calorific wine would cause weight gain, it’s not always just what you drink - or even how much - that can leave you a little heavier on the scales.
Scroll on for the other reasons sipping booze can make you put on weight…
Alcoholic-Calories Come First
While slimming down is certainly a numbers game and anything outside of the RDA will stand against you, that's really just the start of it. Our bodies can't store alcohol or turn alcohol calories into fat, but when it comes to burning them, the calories in alcohol will take preference.
For example (and really turning our glass-with-dinner philosophy on its head), if you were to consume 100 calories of alcohol and 100 calories of carbs, the body will use up the cals in the alcohol first, making the carb calories more likely to be stored.
Hormones are good, while they last
Aldh1a1 is an enzyme in the body that is responsible for converting alcohol to fat around the middle. Thankfully, the female hormone oestrogen works to suppress the effects of this enzyme, but when the menopause approaches and oestrogen levels drop, women can start to see a wine waist develop. Men, rather unluckily, have much less of the female hormone and don't have to wait for the M Word to develop a beer belly.
It Pauses ON FAT-BURNING
Much like the body burns the cals in the alcohol first, if it's too busy processing Gin & Tonics, it doesn't have time to burn fat. The body registers alcohol as a poison, and so the liver prioritises getting rid of the substance before doing the many other jobs that it has to do. This means that maintaining blood glucose levels or breaking down body fat, becomes less of a priority and given that it takes around an hour for our liver to process just one unit of alcohol, that’s a lot of fat burning time that’s getting wasted while we do the same.
YOU WANT TO EAT EVERYTHING IN SIGHT
Ever find yourself suddenly feel ravenous after a couple of glasses of Pinot? Or craving everything beige the morning after a heavy night? Well, it turns out while your liver is working hard processing the booze, it’s not looking out for those blood glucose levels - and when they fall, we get really hungry real fast.