Will Drinking Alcohol Make You Fat?

Questioning that second glass? Afraid drinking alcohol will make you fat? You may be surprised when you hear the real reason behind the beer belly

After my last post, Top 10 Healthiest Beers, people began asking me if beer can be healthy at all. Won’t drinking beer make you fat? Doesn’t drinking alcohol make you fat? The answer is pretty interesting. Here’s how drinking alcohol really affects your fitness goals:

1. Alcohol is the first nutrient to be metabolized.

Your body wants to get rid of the alcohol as quickly as possible, so it prioritizes metabolizing that first. “Fat, protein, and carbohydrates can wait…let’s get this poison out of us immediately”, is essentially what your brain is saying. If your body is focused on metabolizing alcohol first and everything else later, those nutrients have to go into storage (fat).

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2. Taking in excess calories

Then, there’s the issue of the extra several hundred calories (assuming you’re having more than one drink). Unless you’re drinking straight liquor you’re probably also drinking a few servings of carbs per drink. Let’s say every drink you have has 15 grams of sugar and you have 4 drinks. That’s 60 grams of sugar and as we discussed in point #1, those 60 grams of sugar are more likely to be stored as fat until your body is done processing the alcohol.

Try to make low calorie, low sugar cocktails like Vodka Clubs or use unsweetened/sugar-free mixers.

3. Altered Appetite

I was going to say increased appetite but that isn’t necessarily the case for everyone. It is for me and it might be for you though. People who suffer from alcoholism generally have a lack of appetite. Nevertheless, alcohol can alter your inhibitions to choose healthy foods causing you to choose foods that are quick to make, or easier to eat (generally oily, sugary, and salty foods). Feel free to argue with me on this point but I’ve seen more drunk people at the bar gnawing on wings than eating carrots and hummus.

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So, does alcohol actually make you fat?

In short, no. In moderation, and by choosing your drinks wisely, alcohol is less likely to make you fat and may even have benefits in regards to heart health and lowering blood pressure. The problem is how we drink, how much we drink, what we eat (or don’t eat) while we drink, and how often we drink.

My advice

Try to eat 1-2 hours before drinking and choose drinks that are very low in sugar. Make sure you drink equal or greater amounts of water for every drink you have to stay hydrated. This is much easier to do when you drink healthier cocktails.

One thought on “Will Drinking Alcohol Make You Fat?”

  1. Great article, as most drinkers have no idea why they grow “beer bellys”! I might add that since alcohol converts to sugar within the body, one cannot avoid it. One of the issues heavy drinkers deal with is blood sugar disorders(diabetes or hypoglycemia). The other tip I want to share is about inflammation and weight gain. Alcohol is inflammatory to the body, thereby causing inflation within. Many notice a flatter belly when they quit drinking, regardless of exercise or dietary changes.

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