Let's Talk: Alcohol and Weight Loss
Alcohol is not recommended for anyone trying to lose weight. In fact, alcohol can be the primary cause for weight gain. Why? It’s metabolized differently than other foods and beverages in your body. When consumed, it is broken down into acetate; which is the first source of fuel your body burns.
Energy in the body is derived from carbohydrates, fats and proteins that are digested in your stomach. But, when alcohol is present, this normal process is interrupted. This is because alcohol is processed faster, absorbed more quickly and does not need to be digested. Alcohol molecules diffuse through the stomach wall as soon as they arrive and can reach the brain and liver in minutes. This reaction is slowed slightly when there is also food in your system, however, as soon as the mixed contents enter the small intestine the alcohol is quickly absorbed and then arrives at the liver for processing.
The liver then places all of its attention on the alcohol so the other carbohydrates (glucose) and dietary fats are turned into body fat. For these reasons, alcohol counteracts everything you are working towards when you are trying to lose weight. The myths that alcohol is a carbohydrate and that drinking water counteracts the effects are completely false. Water does not save you from the absorption of the empty non-nutritive alcoholic calories that lead to weight gain.
Alcohol is also a diuretic, meaning that it causes water loss and dehydration. Along with this water loss, you lose important minerals, such as magnesium, potassium, calcium and zinc. These minerals are vital to the maintenance of fluid balance, chemical reactions, muscle contraction and muscle relaxation. Know that if you drink alcohol, you WILL retain water and slow down your weight loss.