Alcohol has an impact on a person’s weight, appetite, food cravings, and the way food is metabolized. While the effects of alcohol will vary from person to person, most individuals experience the same weight problems with alcohol use, the excessive consumption of alcohol, and alcohol addiction.
Why Alcohol Causes Weight Gain
Alcohol contains several empty calories, meaning there is no nutritional value or gain from drinking alcohol. With no nutritional value, alcohol is a toxin to the body that must be metabolized immediately. This causes other metabolic processes to suffer. The body is determined to rid itself of the toxins as quickly as possible, causing delays in other metabolic processes. Sugars and fats store in the body and the body is unable absorb the necessary vitamins and nutrients from food. This is why alcohol use, especially heavy alcohol consumption can cause weight gain, slowed metabolism, lethargy, and malnutrition. In addition, the effect alcohol has on the metabolic process interferes with the body’s ability to make glucose and maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Unregulated blood sugar levels can trigger cravings for foods high in sugar, also increasing the risk of weight gain as well as the risk for diabetes. Furthermore, alcohol irritates the gastrointestinal tract which can further complicate the body’s ability to properly absorb nutrients from food intake.
People rarely take the time to monitor their calorie intake when it comes to what they drink, and when it comes to drinking alcohol, the amount of empty calories in one drink can be alarming. A single cocktail or mixed drink can contain close to 33% of one’s daily calorie intake. To make matters worse, short-term alcohol use stimulates food intake and increases appetite. As alcohol reduces a person’s self-control and impairs judgment, food cravings or an increased appetite can lead to serious binge eating and poor food choices.
How Long-Term Alcohol Use Causes Weight Loss Problems
Alcohol is metabolized in the liver, and over time the liver, along with many other organs, becomes inflamed or irritated by alcohol. Damaged organs of the digestive tract impair the body’s ability to absorb nutrients. Long-term alcohol use and alcohol addiction lead to serious issues with malnutrition and significant weight loss. Long-term alcohol use also causes a slower metabolism, which allows the toxins of alcohol to remain in the body for a longer duration causing many possible health complications. Aside from weight loss, alcohol-related malnutrition increases the risk for:
- Liver cirrhosis, fatty liver, hepatitis
- Loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting
- Vitamin deficiencies
- High blood pressure
- Digestive problems
- Brain damage
- Impaired immune system
- Cardiovascular disease and heart complications
- Reproductive and sexual dysfunction
Addressing Health Problems with Alcohol Addiction Recovery
Alcohol addiction can significantly compromise your health, but with the right treatment, you can get your health back on-track during your recovery from alcohol addiction. If you are ready to find treatment help for alcohol addiction, please call our toll-free number today. Our trained addiction counselors are on-hand 24 hours a day to discuss the treatment options that will work for you and all of your health-related issues. Whether you have questions, want information, or are ready to begin your search for treatment programs today, we can help.