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How Alcohol Consumption Affects Fat Storage

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The holiday season brings together family, friends, good food and good drinks—including alcoholic drinks. I’m not here to tell you what to drink but there is some information you need to know about alcohol (as it relates to your health and fitness).

Consuming too much alcohol can cause you to gain body fat and weight. You need to know how your body responds to alcohol when you take a drink.

First, one gram of alcohol provides 7 calories (almost double the amount provided by carbohydrates—4 cal/g and protein—4 cal/g). Only fat (9 cal/g) provides more calories than alcohol. So, when you are planning your food and drink consumption, don't forget the calories from alcohol.

Remember, consuming more calories than you burn (caloric surplus) will put the weight on your body. If you want to lose weight, create a caloric deficit (burn more calories than you consume). Its not a complicated process. Just watch what and how much you eat and exercise regularly.

When you take a drink of alcohol, your body converts a small amount of it into fat and the rest is converted (by the liver) into a substance called acetate. This acetate is then quickly released into the bloodstream and used as the body's main source of energy. So, your body is using the acetate as energy instead of the stored fat in your body. The more you drink, the more fat your body will store.

Many times, this extra body fat is belly fat. Belly fat has been associated with contributing to such diseases as cancer. Belly fat causes other health problems -- such as damage to blood vessels and it has been implicated in the development of coronary artery disease and Metabolic Syndrome. That is why personal trainers and health professionals always measure body fat with a special emphasis placed on your belly fat!

Added to this problem is the fact that alcohol consumption can increase your appetite. Researchers from Denmark found that a group ate more when they were served beer or wine and they ate less when served a soft drink. Just think of all the high-calorie meals served with alcohol at a place like a restaurant!

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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