“People who are accustomed to drinking regularly develop both a central nervous system and a metabolic tolerance to alcohol. The brain is less affected and the microsomal system gets rid of alcohol more rapidly. But they are not spared alcohol’s damaging effects. In other words, those who rely on alcohol for weight control could end up thin but dead.”
~Dr. Charles S. Lieber
Back in the 1960s, one of the diet fads of the day was the so-called “Drinking Man’s Diet.” Followers of this plan were told to substitute alcohol for other starches and sugars if they wanted to get rid of excess weight.
The diet was based on the baffling observation that alcoholics and heavy drinkers frequently lose weight in spite of consuming hundreds – even thousands – of extra calories through alcohol every day.
But the fact is, excessive alcohol consumption leads to wasted calories, vitamin deficiencies, malnutrition, and other serious health complications.
Drinking and Weight Gain
When a person has the occasional cocktail or glass of wine, those extra calories contained in the drink do indeed add up and contribute to unwanted pounds. Just one beer or margarita a day – considered moderate drinking for women – can add up to approximately 55,000 alcohol calories in a year.
That’s enough to cause a 16-pound weight gain.
Drinking and Weight Loss
However, chronic heavy drinking can disrupt important metabolic processes, in essence, “training” the body to waste the calories provided from alcohol and interfering with how their body derives energy from other foods.
In one study, people eating a 2500-calorie diet were given an extra 2000 calories of alcohol every day, yet the amount of weight gain was negligible.
This is NOT a good thing.
How the Body Processes Alcohol
Among light drinkers, the liver disposes of alcohol by synthesizing a compound called adenosine triphosphate, which can then generate energy for regular cellular processes.
But among regular, heavy drinkers with a compromised metabolism, the liver wastes the energy the alcohol could have provided because the microsomal ethanol oxidizing system essentially converts the alcohol to unneeded heat.
Even worse, the triggered microsomal system breaks the alcohol down into acetaldehyde, a toxic metabolite associated with internal organ damage, especially to the heart, brain, and liver.
If you are worried about the impact your drinking can have on your mental and physical health, contact Lasting Recovery outpatient alcohol rehab in San Diego for a better way forward.
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