Here’s What the Experts Say About Everything you must be aware of about happy hour prior to you leave.

If you’re trying to keep an ideal weight your first task is to consider whether the food you consume regularly will help you reach your nutritional goals. It’s not just about food you eat. The drinks you consume are also crucial, whether it’s a lager you can open during an outdoor BBQ or the bottle wine that you share with your friends over dinner.

In terms of weight loss, it’s not the only factor however if you think drinking alcohol could play an important role in your health there are some facts you need to know about drinking alcohol and body composition, straight from experts.

The body won’t burn off fat when you drink alcohol.

You’ve probably heard of the phrase “empty calories” in reference to alcohol consumption. According to Krissy Maurine, MS, ACT, chief health and wellness manager at the Providence St. Joseph Hospital’s Wellness Center in Orange County, California, “your body can use the calories from alcohol for energy, but those calories include little to no helpful nutrients or minerals.”

“Alcohol isn’t treated the same as other nutrients in meals; in fact, the digestive system works extra hard to clear it from the body, prioritising alcohol removal over all other nutrients,” Maurin says. “If you ate a meal while drinking an alcoholic beverage, the nutrient intake from the meal would be considerably reduced since the body would be working so hard to expel the alcohol.”

Normally carbohydrates are your body’s primary option to digest food to provide energy, however the process is drastically altered when alcohol is consumed. “When the body perceives alcohol as hazardous, it shuts down all other stored macronutrients–carbs, proteins, and fat–in order to use and burn off the alcohol first,” says Maurin.

Even though you’ve heard of the term “beer belly,” Maurin asserts that the notion that alcohol causes more belly fat region is not true. In reality, only one percent of the energy consumed through alcohol is transformed into fat. “Alcohol has the primary impact of lowering the amount of fat your body can burn for energy,” she says. “Basically, you’re slowing down your metabolism, which leads to weight gain.”

It’s calorie-dense.

Alcohol is high in calories content, in general. “Protein and carbs have four calories per gramme, fat has nine, and alcohol has seven,” states Ginger Hultin, MS, RDN the owner of ChampagneNutrition in Seattle. “When you include mixers such as juices, soda, syrups, cream, whipped cream, or coconut milk, the calories in an alcoholic beverage can quickly add up.”

Certain drinks, specifically ones with syrups or whipped cream, can contain a lot of calories. “Some margaritas, daiquiris, and pina coladas might have a lot of sugar and saturated fat in them,” Hultin suggests.

Hultin suggests sticking to low-calorie options if you wish to drink alcohol while balancing your weight. Beverages with smaller ABV (alcohol per volume) like Pilsners and Lagers (about 100 calories for a bottle in comparison with 150-150 calories of the typical “normal” beer), and dry white or red wine is among her recommendations (which have approximately 120 calories per glass). “Aim for a beer ABV of 4 to 5 percent and a wine ABV of 10 to 12 percent,” Hultin recommends.

If wine and beer do not make you feel good spirits mixed with soda or water or water, such as soda and vodka (133 calories for a typical glass of 225 grams) is an option that’s low in calories.

Hormones get messed up because of it.

Hormones are essential for the efficient functioning of the organs and tissues in the body. “When the hormone system is operating effectively, the right quantity of hormone is produced at exactly the right moment, and the body’s tissues respond to those messages accurately,” Maurin adds.

Alcohol consumption can affect the hormone-producing glands’ function as well as the function of the hormone-targeted tissues. This can result in a myriad of health issues. “Alcohol use raises cortisol levels, which has been related to weight growth,” Maurin clarifies.

Scientists are trying to determine how much alcohol causes this cortisol surge. “There is no black-and-white solution here; everyone’s body reacts and breaks down alcohol differently,” Maurin says. She points out that the majority of studies on the subject include the word “intoxicated” participant.

Alcohol can make it harder to have a restful night’s sleep.

It’s not very common for people to drink alcohol to sleep. “Because alcohol contains sedative properties that can create feelings of relaxation and tiredness,” Maurin adds, “it might assist an individual unwind and get ready for bed.” However, she will insist that drinking too much alcohol has been linked to low quality sleep and a shorter duration. “In reality, sleeplessness symptoms are typical among those who are addicted to alcohol,” she says.

There is no doubt that hormones play an important role, in this instance, melatonin that is long-standingly linked to the regulation of sleep-wake cycles. “After consuming alcohol, many individuals find their sleep is interrupted, and sleep disruption is significantly connected to weight growth over time,” Hultin clarifies.

It is a great way to create hunger.

The cravings usually kick up after drinking a few beverages and that you’re likely to grab any quick and easy snack pops into your mind, without contemplating it.

Hultin states that hunger-related sensations are caused by a number of triggers. First alcohol causes an increase in blood sugar levels. “This can cause hunger signals as well as desires for carbohydrate-rich meals,” she says.

In addition, studies have revealed that alcohol has an effect on a part of the brain that regulates appetite, leading to an extreme craving, in particular in the days following drinking. Alcohol may stimulate neurons located in the hypothalamus region of the brain, which are typically stimulated by real hunger, according to one study. The intense hunger pangs could cause you to crave food items that are high in calories like pizza or burgers.

There is also evidence that alcohol may affect hormones such as leptin, which decreases hunger, and glucagon like the peptide-1 (GLP-1) which reduces consumption of food. For healthy individuals, drinking “moderate” doses of alcohol decreases the production of leptin, according to one study.

“This is compounded by the fact that alcohol decreases inhibitions, causing many individuals to eat items they would ordinarily avoid, such as high-fat or salt dishes,” Hultin says.

Be aware you’re following the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025, states that if you drink alcohol, it is best to be careful not to drink greater than one or two drinks a day for women, and two drinks a day for males. Based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention drinking too much alcohol has been linked with a higher chance of developing cancer, mental illness, heart disease as well as Alzheimer’s disease (CDC).

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