Alcohol and calories (in women); does drinking cause weight gain?

“When you drink alcohol, its broken down into acetaldehyde (basically vinegar) , which the body will burn before any other calorie you’ve consumed or stored including fat or even sugar. So if you drink and consume more calories than you need , you’re more likely to store the fat from the Cheez Whiz you ate and the sugar from the  Coke you drank because your body is getting all its energy from the acetaldehyde in the beer you sucked down.

Further, studies show that alcohol temporarily inhibits “lipid oxidisation” – in other words, when alcohol is in your system, it’s harder for your body to burn fat that’s already there. Since eating fat is the most metabolically efficient way to put fat on your body – you actually use a small amount of calories when you turn excess carbs and protein into body fat, but excess fat slips right into your saddlebags, no costume change necessary – hypothetically speaking, following a high fat – high alcohol diet would be the easiest way to put on weight”

Rachael Coombe, Elle.com

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Drink alcohol sensibly? Ridiculous

The “Drink xxxxxx sensibly” tag line appears in most advertising and marketing promotional material

It’s there so that the drinks companies don’t have to mention alcohol in the advertising

Or display any information about alcohol in publicity or on pack

Clearly no drinker pays any attention to it;

  • “According to the WHO, alcohol is the 3rd leading risk factor contributing to the global burden of disease
  • Ireland has one of the highest levels of alcohol consumption per capita. In 2010, 11.9 litres of pure alcohol was consumed for every adult aged 15 and over according to the Revenue Commissioners/CSO
  • Alcohol is associated with a range of chronic and acute medical conditions, liver cirrhosis, various cancers, road traffic collisions and suicide
  • Problem alcohol use is pervasive in Irish society,with men and women, old and young, experiencing its negative effects”

Source; HRB.ie, Treated problem alcohol use in Ireland

Time then for the  drinks companies to show the consumer some respect and stop asking them to drink alcohol sensibly?

Alcohol is a toxic, psychoactive, addictive drug. To ask anyone to drink it sensibly is absurd

The responsible thing to do is be honest and upfront.

Give the consumer all the information about alcohol and let them make up their own mind

 

Alcohol and drug addiction – Deficiency in the brain

Research has found that there are electro-physiological deficits in the brains of alcoholics

Not just in alcoholics but in their progeny, suggesting that electro-physiological deficits exist even before alcohol consumption in the children of people who drink alcohol

Drug taking changes the brains magnetic and electrical systems impacting on the body’s nervous system to produce a high

With long-term use they act to devitalise the body, having a seriously damaging effect on the vital life force, further reinforcing the need to take the drug

Low magnetic levels in the brain and body are caused by deficiencies of folic acid, zinc, thiamine and other nutrients

The western based meat diet is largely responsible. It is nutritionally inadequate in terms of antidioxant vitamins and minerals, and deficient in negative magnetism

Over time, the animal product diet can create abnormal cravings for drugs which will differ in strength depending on nutrient availability and level of magnetic balance

On such a diet the natural opioids no longer function as they should, causing craving and eventually drug use and addiction. Drugs supply exhilaration as they stimulate the reward or pleasure centre of the brain. They act to increase the electrical firing in the reward centre releasing certain neurotransmitters which induce a sense of euphoria, elevation in mood, increased arousal and motivation

Excited by the drug taking behaviour, the brain’s neural circuitry adapts to the chemical state. If the drug is withdrawn, brain function is impaired and pleasure is replaced by pain, inducing depression and a loss of energy and motivation. Continued drug use is reinforced, first by the physical addiction and secondly,  by the strong psychological desire to avoid painful withdrawal

Drug taking behaviour and abuse is a form of appetitive behaviour as drugs stimulate the same area of the brain that rules feeding and drinking i.e., the reward and pleasure centre. A poor nutritional and vital state will create the need to consume or use drugs. The link between nutrition, appetite and drugs is further enforced by the fact that drugs replace the need for food as a person becomes more dependent

Alcohol functions primarily to relax as does opium. Other drugs stimulate (e.g., caffeine),  and can trigger the tension that may lead to drinking

Some drinkers drink to reduce social tensions or feelings of inadequacy. Some may drink to attain a positive pleasure rather than to combat a negative stimulus. But all these mental and emotional triggers have neurophsyiological and nutritional abnormality as their precursors

The similarity between behaviours of those people who are addicted to food( anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa) and those who are addicted to drugs  indicates a disorder of the self-regulatory control of the appetite. The drug takers habit may be triggered by emotional factors as in the obese, bulimic or anorexic persons’ eating patterns, but these are secondary stimuli.

The primary cause is poor diet and the brain’s consequent magnetic and chemical imbalance

Source; Awaremed.com

 

Why are lower levels of drinking recommended for women?

Because women are at greater risk than men for developing alcohol related problems. Alcohol passes through the digestive tract and is dispersed in the water in the body. The more water available, the more diluted the alcohol. As a rule men weigh more than women, and pound for pound women have less water in their bodies than men. Therefore a woman’s brain and other organs are exposed to more alcohol and to more of the toxic byproducts that result when the body breaks down and eliminates alcohol.

Source; NIAAA

Alcohol and your liver

Alcohol is toxic to your liver, and if you drink heavily over a long period of time you can experience cirrhosis of the liver and death. Heavy drinkers over the long-term can also impair their liver’s ability to actuate vitamins, which contributes to the malnutrition often suffered by long-term alcoholics

Source; Fitday.com

Alcohol and blood sugar

Maintaining adequate blood sugar levels is one of the key functions of your metabolism, but when you drink alcohol, maintaining healthy blood sugar levels is one of the first elements of metabolism to be shoved aside in your body’s rush to excrete the toxins as efficiently as possible. Alcohol inhibits your body’s ability to make glucose and to maintain healthy levels of glucose ( or blood sugar ) in the blood.

Over time,  heavy drinkers develop glucose intolerance and can even become diabetic. Even occasional alcohol can cause dangerous drops in blood sugar levels, especially when consumed on an empty stomach. That’s why drinking alcohol can be very dangerous for diabetics and hypoglycemics.

Source; Fitday.com

Alcohol can cause weight gain

Because your body can’t store alcohol and must metabolize it straight away, other metabolic processes suffer. Your body won’t metabolize sugars and fats as efficiently during the metabolism of alcohol, and drinking heavily can cause your metabolism to slow.  This can contribute to weight gain, as can the empty calories found in alcohol.

Alcohol also causes weight loss

Alcohol can also cause weight loss in those who drink heavily long-term. Alcohol continues to slow the metabolism of long term drinkers, but it also causes inflammation of the organs of the digestive tract. If you drink heavily in the long-term , alcohol can impair your body’s ability to absorb nutrients. If you become chronically malnourished due to alcohol consumption, you’ll lose weight in spite of your lower metabolism

Source; Fitday.com

Alcohol and nutrition

Alcohol contains only empty calories and has no nutritional value. it can often contribute to malnutrition because high levels of calories in most alcoholic drinks can account for a large percentage of your daily energy requirements. Even one alcoholic drink a day can contribute to malnutrition.

Your body can’t store alcohol, so it must metabolize it straight away. When you drink alcohol, your body makes metabolizing it a priority over all other metabolic processes. Your body sends alcohol to the liver, which produces the enzymes necessary for the oxidation and metabolism of alcohol.

Not only does alcohol not contain any nutrients of its own, but it can impair your body’s natural ability to store nutrients and vitamins from the food you eat.

Source; Fitday.com

Alcohol can cause much more than a tummy upset

Alcohol irritates the digestive system – makes the stomach produce more acid which can lead to gastritis, tummy pain, vomiting, diarrhoea, and in heavy drinkers, sometimes bleeding.

In the longer term there is increased risk of cancer, ulcer, acid reflux

The liver is our largest organ and it has 500 different roles. One of the livers most important functions is to break down food and convert it into energy when you need it. Your liver helps the body get rid of waste products and plays a vital role in fighting infections, particularly in the bowel. And yet when your liver is damaged, you generally won’t know about it – until things get serious!

Source; Drinkaware.co.uk

Alcohol is a terrible messer when it comes to food

Alcohol is notorious for leading people to overeat because of its physiological effect on appetite and because it is generally consumed in a social setting where food is plentiful.

There’s no place to store alcohol in our bodies the way we do food; therefore the body must use incoming alcohol preferentially as its energy source  in order to keep it from reaching toxic levels. This gives alcohol its natural ability to stimulate appetite by depleting the glycogen (carbohydrate) stores in order to metabolize it, causing you to crave carbohydrates.

Alcohol also acts as a diuretic, increasing urination thus decreasing electrolytes like sodium. Again we now begin to crave the things we are losing – hence our desire for salty carbohydrate – like foods ( e.g. chips, crisps, dips, crackers , etc.,).

When you combine alcohol’s natural effects on appetite with its well-known un-inhibiting effects at a destination full of palatable foods, you  have hungry people who often end up with no cares about what and how much food they consume.