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Addictions to lose weight – 3: Alcohol is not a solution to burn calories

Addictions to lose weight - 3: Alcohol is not a solution to burn calories

There is a common saying, “Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder.” Certainly true, beauty is a relative term and is defined differently by different people. However, movies, novels and fairy tales have characterized beauty by a few traits such as big eyes, fair skin, smooth hair and most importantly, an accurately curved out body. And hence, the shape of body becomes a deciding attribute to one’s beauty.

With losing weight becoming a fad, adopting healthy eating habits and including regular workouts in one’s routine schedule is a positive transition. However, the dark side of the coin is that teenage girls and young women develop unhealthy habits in the process. They may go to the extent of developing eating disorder such as anorexia nervosa (a mental condition in which the patient refuses to eat any food in fear of gaining weight).

The situation becomes worse when people start resorting to illegal and life-threatening things such as drugs and smoking to reduce weight at a greater pace. The series ‘Addiction to lose weight’ discusses few of the conditions that have gained cult among teenagers and young adults for quick weight loss.

Does alcohol help reduce weight?

Alcohol is often associated with weight gain. Terms such as ‘beer belly’ in men and ‘beer butt’ in women are quite common. They occur due to excessive drinking of beer. Also, people involved in excessive drinking eventually end up being obese and having a bloated stomach, puffed face and sagging skin.

The weight gain due to alcohol is associated with the consumption of carbs, sugar and ethanol (pure alcohol) present in the drink. Except for ethanol (which burns out of the body due to lack of nutritional value), others get stored as fat inside the body. More fat is added from the junk food often taken as snacks along with alcohol. Together, all these results in the extra pound reflecting on the weighing machine.

However, a report published by the Archives of Internal Medicine in 2010 suggests that women having one or two drinks a day are less likely to gain weight than those who have given up the substance. According to researchers, with such moderate drinking, the body tends to metabolize alcohol differently. “They use more energy, burning the calories in the drink — or even more than that —while digesting it,” said Lu Wang, lead researcher of the study and an instructor in medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

Drunkorexia – a new disorder

Some people are very calorie conscious. However, their entire count of calorie goes for a toss during weekends when they spend the time either sleeping, eating junks or boozing, more likely in excess. In order to deal with the extra calorie intake, the smarter generation has introduced ‘drunkorexia’, where they swap the control diet with a glass of alcohol. Drunkorexics limit their food during the day and compensate the lack of calories with alcohol at night. In doing so, while they are able to maintain the calorie intake, drinking without any food also helps in maximizing the effects of alcohol.

Although it might sound like music in case of calorie count, the practice does more harm than good. Firstly, alcohol does not contain any nutritional value, therefore replacing it for food leaves the person malnourished and intoxicated. Secondly, this also encourages the concept of binge drinking, which further leads to harmful effects in the body.

Studies suggest that drunkorexia is more harmful to women than to men. Anatomically, women have more body fat. Women also have less dehydrogenase – an enzyme that metabolizes alcohol – which will cause the alcohol to remain in the blood for longer.

Road to recovery

It is a fact that alcohol is not healthy at all. While drinking moderately can curb the damage up to some extent, it cannot remove the harms completely. Replacing nutritional food with alcohol neither compensates for low-calorie diet nor helps in weight loss. Instead, it leads to binge drinking and alcohol addiction.

If you or your loved one is battling any kind of addiction and seeking ways to get rid of it, get in touch with the Texas Substance Abuse Helpline to know about substance abuse treatment programs in Texas. You may call us at our 24/7 helpline number 866-971-2658 or chat online to get more details about the best substance abuse treatment center in Texas.

Read the other articles of the series “Addictions to lose weight”:

  1. Smoking more of a fad than a means to weight loss
  2. Crystal meth is no shortcut to cut down body fat