Will alcohol make my body store fat?

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I’ve heard from a couple of friends that booze makes your body store fat, is this correct?

I’ve heard from a couple of friends that booze makes your body store fat, and because of that those friends often don’t eat food and indulge alcohol in the same sitting.

I was wondering if there were any guidelines or tips for those occasions when celebrations are in order and you’re planning to have a few drinks.

Is there any benefit to this practice or any other idea when booze and food are going to be consumed? My usual mixed drink is a rum and cola. I also like lagers and light beers. -William



Alcoholic beverages don’t technically make your body store fat, but rather inhibits triglyceride fat (the kind from food and stored in your body) from being oxidized for fuel.  Scientists call this suppression of peripheral lipolysis.  It’s as if the ethanol (technical term for alcohol) takes up the dedicated metabolic processes, thus preventing fat from being burned.  It also stimulates the liver’s production of endogenous fat.

A single 12 fl. oz. beer, 6 fl. oz wine, or 1.5 fl oz. shot + mixer contain relatively the same amount of alcohol and calories.   Alcohol has 7 Calories per gram, whereas fat has 9 Calories/gram and carbohydrate has 4 Calories/gram.  Most mixed drinks, such as rum & coke, have a sugared counterpart accompanying the ethanol.  So it’s prudent to take into consideration additional calories from the mixer as well.

To offset the fat-retaining effects and caloric contribution of alcohol, my advice is to reduce fat and carbohydrate consumption at the nearest meal.  For instance, if I’m planning to have a glass of Chianti, then I’ll forgo some of my pesto-dressed pasta. Or, I’ll trade the bread and butter for a Cape Cod.  Another suggestion is to cut your baked potato w/ butter & sour cream in half, to enjoy a beer.

I don’t suggest drinking on an empty stomach, however, for sake of avoiding intoxication—Having something in your belly helps to slow the rate of alcohol absorption.

Focus on vegetables and protein at your meal.  At a minimum, a couple of appetizer bites or an apple will suffice.  The party lasts much longer if you don’t spike your blood alcohol content!

Of course, you know I do have to mention that not consuming alcohol is the healthiest choice.

If you do indulge, always consume alcohol responsibly and NEVER drink and drive. – Debbie J., MS, RD

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Posted on August 8, 2013, in Ask Our Dietitian, Health, Helpful, Nutrition, Weight Loss and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I just have a question.. what is the best way to lose weight after you have a child? I don’t really have time to go to the gym I have 2 kids.

  2. is walking better than running do you waste more calories that way? I just want to lose this weight so I can feel better about myself and be healthier and happier.

  3. When you hear that alcohol increases belly fat, you also have to look at what else is going on in the life of the drinker, particularly what the rest of a person’s diet looks like, and how alcohol intake affects appetite and eating habits.Alcohol can mess up your body’s perception of hunger, satiety and fullness. If drinking stimulates additional eating, or adds additional calories that aren’t compensated for and which lead to positive energy balance, then you get fat.

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