Alcohol and Weight Gain – Will Drinking Alcohol Make You Fat?


When it comes to burning body fat and losing weight, it’s pretty simple. Burn more calories than you consume. Well, it’s a bit more complicated than that but we’ll just leave it at that for now. Everybody knows about the stuff that has calories in it which include protein, carbohydrates, and fat. But I want to talk about something that has a tremendous impact on your ability to burn body fat, alcohol. Alcohol has calories too and the effect on your body is a lot greater than most people think.

Here is some good news about alcohol and fat calories: A very small percentage of the alcohol calories you drink are turned into fat. It’s in the single digits. But the problem with alcohol and it’s calories is that when consumed it reduces the amount of fat that your body can burn off for energy.

Here is a super quick lesson about the body and burning body fat. Your body wants to burn body fat for energy. Especially when at rest. When you workout it wants to use carbohydrates and glycogen (stored carbohydrates) for energy to fuel it through those workouts. But when the activity stops your body wants to burn fat. It wants to burn it when you’re watching TV, reading a book, cooking dinner, brushing your teeth, and even sleeping. But the lifestyle of the person will dictate how much, if any fat is being burned for energy.

Things that can detour the body from burning body fat as energy are skipping breakfast, low-calorie diets, not enough sleep or rest, skipping meals, and drinking too much alcohol.

Why does this happen? It comes down to a substance called acetate. Acetate levels rise sharply after alcohol is consumed. This substance pretty much tells the body to STOP burning body fat ASAP. And yet another problem is the body starts making another substance called acetyl CoA. This causes the body to actually start making more body fat.

An interesting fact about your body and alcohol is that it can only process about .5 to 1 ounce of alcohol per hour. To the body it is a toxic substance. And it is extremely hard for the liver to perform all of its regular functions, and even more so when alcohol is added to the mix.

12 ounces of beer has around .6 ounces of alcohol in it. So if you drank 5 beers your body would not be able to burn fat for up to 6 hours. The more you drink the longer you delay the body’s regular fat burning mechanism.

Also remember when you drink alcohol that it is empty calories. You get no nutritional benefit from it. No vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein, omega-3’s, nothing!

So what to do? Well, if you were on a fat loss plan the best thing to do would be to avoid it. But for some people that’s out of the question. So if that’s the case always remember the word ‘moderation’. I’m sure you’ve heard it before with your nutrition and other parts of your life. Some other tips would be to choose wine or a light beer. And limit your intake to just 1-2 days a week with a maximum drink limit of 2. Drinking everyday on a fat loss plan is not a fat loss plan at all.

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About Author

Jason Yun

Jason Yun is a graduate of Ohio State University, where he earned a Bachelors of Science degree in Sports and Leisure Studies with an emphasis in fitness, coaching, and recreation. He first started in fitness in the bodybuilding arena in the early 1990's trying to follow in the footsteps of Arnold Schwarzenegger. See my profile page for more information!

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