The CalorieKing Alcohol Guide
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Alcohol and weight control
Planning ahead for parties can prevent calorie overload from excess drinks and snacks
Drinking too much alcohol can contribute to obesity in several ways. There are 7 calories per gram of alcohol, which makes it fairly calorie-dense, and it is also thought to lessen the body’s ability to burn fat. If you drink too much, fat storage may be promoted, particularly in the belly, which is a health danger-zone.
Alcohol is problematic for people trying to lose weight. It can stimulate appetite, and if drinking is associated with eating high-calorie foods there is also a greater chance of consuming more calories, particularly in social situations. As well as being calorie-dense, the calories in alcohol are considered “empty” in that they provide no nutritional value. People trying to lose weight need to carefully control their calorie intake from alcohol.
That said, alcohol does not lead to weight gain as a rule. In fact, some studies show that moderate consumption of alcohol is often associated with a small weight-reduction in women. The reasons for this are not known, but alcohol appears to increase metabolic rate and also reduce the amount of sugar a person eats. The key concept, yet again, is moderation. Heavy drinking will cause weight gain.
Alcohol abuse and alcoholism
There are differences between alcohol abuse and alcoholism.
Alcohol abuse is a pattern of drinking in which a person uses alcohol in a way that is harmful to themselves or others. A pattern of drinking in which one or more of the following situations occurrs repeatedly in a 12-month period would be considered alcohol abuse:
Alcoholism, or alcohol dependence, is a disease. It is chronic, and can be lifelong and life-threatening. Alcoholism is based in the brain. In some people, alcohol’s long-term effects can change the way the brain reacts to alcohol. As a result, the urge to drink can be as compelling as the hunger for food. Genetic make-up and environment both contribute to the risk for alcoholism. Some typical characteristics of alcoholism are:
Treatment for an alcohol problem depends on its severity. Speak to a health professional for advice.
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