What Does Alcohol Do to Your Metabolism?

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Humans can consume a variety of drinks and foods, and that gives them incredible energy to live. However, consumption of foods must be done moderately to stay healthy and fit.

Another thing that they need to consider apart from food intake is their alcohol consumption.

If they are planning to lose weight, alcohol intake plays a vital role in achieving this goal.

Being overweight can cause anyone to be at risk for several serious health problems that can lessen their lifespan.

Cutting down alcohol consumption is a basic approach to treating alcohol use disorder. 

It is one of the options specialists would recommend to prevent alcohol from disrupting one’s metabolism due to alcohol.

In this article, readers will have a brief knowledge of how alcohol affects their metabolism.

Does Alcohol Speed Up Metabolism?

Before knowing how alcohol speeds up a human's metabolism, it is best to understand metabolism.

Metabolism is the human body’s process of shifting ingested substances to other vital compounds.

Like an engine in a particular vehicle, metabolism acts as the mechanism of human bodies to keep moving.

Human metabolism turns the things they drink and eat into substances that their bodies can utilise. Their respective genetic makeup determines the exact function of metabolism.

Even if humans share similar basic metabolism, variations in enzymes affect how each of them reacts to distinct substances.

The results of the metabolism in some substances may be less or more toxic than those initially ingested.

Metabolism may involve a series of processes, and one example of this is oxidation. Through the process of oxidation, alcohol is detoxified and detached from the blood.

This can help in preventing the alcohol from getting and damaging organs or cells.

There are two major factors influencing metabolism and alcohol absorption, namely:

Food

Several factors influence the absorption process, including the type and presence of food in the gastrointestinal tract after alcohol consumption.

The average rate at which alcohol is riveted depends on how fast their stomach empties its intestine contents.

Experts claimed that the higher the content of dietary fat, the longer the absorption process will take and the more time this emptying will need.

Gender

Men and women absorb and metabolize alcohol differently. Women have higher blood alcohol concentration after drinking the same amount of alcohol.

On the other hand, men are more vulnerable to heart muscle damage, alcoholic liver damage, and brain damage.

The distinction between the blood alcohol concentration or BAC between men and women has been ascribed to women’s lesser amount of body water.

As a result, women are likened to dipping a similar amount of alcohol into a tinier pail of water.

Another distinction is that women have lower activity of ADH or alcohol metabolizing enzymes in their stomachs. This causes a bigger proportion of the consumed alcohol to grasp the blood.

These factors mean that women are more susceptible than men as far as heart damage and alcohol-induced liver are concerned.

The Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) found out the following after conducting a series of studies related to alcohol and metabolism:

  • It is indistinguishable whether alcohol intake is a risk factor for obesity or weight gain.
  • There is a positive link between body weight and alcohol. But this particular scenario is more connected to men than women.
  • The existing data provide insufficient scientific evidence to verify whether beer consumption relates to abdominal or general obesity. 

Therefore, although there is a possibility that gain weight is associated with alcohol consumption, this may not apply to all.

Gaining weight due to alcohol consumption depends on various factors, and these include the following:

  • Drinking Habits and Behaviours – This pertains to the type of alcohol they drink, how often they drink, what they eat before drinking, and how much they drink.
  • Lifestyle and Body Physique – This pertains to their overall diet, gender, genetics, level of physical activity, health, and age.

Note that excessive drinking of alcohol can be associated with several serious health risks apart from possible weight gain.

These health problems include heart stroke and disease, triglycerides, liver disease, and many more.

Therefore, it is essential to check alcohol consumption as a major part of everyone’s healthy diet.

How alcohol consumption and blood sugar connected?

Like sugar, alcohol is absorbed through the human digestive system, goes its way into their bloodstream, and soon reaches their liver.

Sugar production also occurs in the human liver. The existence of alcohol can delay the chemical balance in their liver cells. This leads to less production of sugar levels. 

Through this, it is highly expected that their blood levels tend to reduce after alcohol consumption.

Studies found out that there is no change in glucose levels after healthy drinkers consumed alcohol.

They have said that low blood sugar levels after drinking are often visible in individuals with Type 1 Diabetes, have significant liver damage, and have not eaten for a couple of days.

Some studies also claim also claimed that alcohol could be an attributing factor in increased blood sugar since alcohol lessens the human body’s warmth to the insulin they produce.

It means that their cells take away less glucose from their bloodstream.

Even if alcohol can lessen blood glucose levels, most alcoholic drinks like fortified wines, liquors, cocktails, and cider usually contained refined sugar.

This sugar content is absorbed like the glucose in food and can boost their blood glucose levels.

As they might expect, constant heavy drinking has been associated with an increased risk of having Type 2 diabetes and poor long-term conditions.

But, some researchers claimed that moderate consumption of alcohol might secure against obesity and diabetes.

Though it is quite easy to research the effects of alcohol on human metabolism after consumption, it is challenging to check the long-term effects of excessive alcohol drinking on their metabolic condition.

While the connection between obesity and alcohol consumption remains unclear, there are several reasons to think that liquor may play a major function:

  • It impedes the human body from burning fat
  • It results in less satiety but greater food cravings
  • It increases the energy they get from the drinks and foods
  • It causes poor food selections

How Alcohol Affects Human Weight Loss?

There are several ways how alcohol affects human weight loss, and these include the following:

1. Alcohol Has “Empty” Calories

Alcoholic drinks like liquor and wines are often called “empty” calories. It means that they give human body with calories, but it contains is very little or doesn’t have any nutritional value.

There are approximately 15 calories and 125 calories for every 5-ounce of red wine in every can of beer. The suggested afternoon snack should range from 150 to 200 calories.

Moreover, a night out with various drinks can result in drinking extra calories. Drinks with soda or fruit juice contain even more calories than liquor alone.

2. Alcohol as the Major Source of Energy

Various elements can cause weight improvement apart from the calorie content.

After drinking alcohol, it is burned first and acts as a fuel source before the human body utilizes it for anything else.

The typical examples of this are the lipids from fats and glucose from carbohydrates.

When the human body is utilizing alcohol as a major fuel source, the excess lipids and glucose end up.

3. Alcohol Can Affect Human Organs

The liver's primary role is to filter any foreign substances that pass through the human body, including alcohol or drugs.

The liver also metabolizes fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. Too much drinking of alcohol can result in a condition called alcoholic fatty liver.

This condition can destroy their liver, affecting how the human body metabolizes and keeps fats and carbohydrates. Through this changing process, it is quite hard to lose weight.

4. Alcohol Can Lead to Excess Belly Fat

Foods rich in simple sugars like soda, candy, and beet have great calorie contents. Extra calories end up deposited as body fats.

Drinking too much liquor and eating excessive foods loaded with sugar can instantly lead to weight gain.

5. Alcohol Affects Judgment Calls

Alcohol reduces inhibitions and can result in poor decision-making, especially when choosing what food to eat.

But the alcohol effects surpass even with the social drinking etiquette.

According to a recent study, researchers found out that mice given ethanol for a couple of days demonstrated an improved food craving.

It means that alcohol can trigger hunger signals in the brain, leading to a greater food craving.

6. Sex Hormones and Alcohol

Alcohol can affect the human hormonal level, particularly testosterone. Testosterone refers to a sex hormone that plays a vital role in multiple metabolic procedures.

This includes fat-burning capabilities and muscle formation.

The research found out that low-slung testosterone levels may foresee the development of metabolic syndrome in men. 

This metabolic syndrome is characterized by the following:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • High body mass index
  • High Blood sugar levels

In addition, lower levels of testosterone may affect the quality of sleep, particularly in older men.

7. Alcohol Can Affect Your Sleep

Medical experts claimed that alcohol could lead to more periods of wakefulness, especially during the night.

Sleep deprivation can result in hormonal imbalance, and that is related to satiety, hunger, and energy storage.

8. Alcohol Affects Nutrient Uptake and Digestion

Human social anxiety is not the foremost thing that alcohol impedes. Drinking alcohol can also inhibit proper digestive function.

Alcohol can cause stress on the intestines and stomach, and this leads to decreased digestive secretions. It also affects the movement of nutrition through the tract.

Digestive secretions are said to be a significant element of well-fit digestion. They break down nutrition into the basic micro and macronutrients rivetted and utilized by the human body.

Alcohol consumption of all levels can result in weakened digestion and absorption of these substances, which can affect the metabolism of the organ that plays a role in weight development.

Since alcohol and metabolism are strongly connected, it is a must to monitor the alcohol intake and healthy lifestyle as a whole.

However, some drinkers find it hard to take away their vices.

Though they are interested in taking away those vices, they suffer due to the different alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, headache, nausea, shaky hands, insomnia, and many more.

To solve this health concern, more and more people prefer to consider the possibility of admitting to a residential or private clinic for alcohol rehab treatment.

This solution is highly recommended as it is proven effective and efficient. When it comes to a rehabilitation centre, it is necessary to look for an institution that offers excellent services and state-of-the-art technologies.

To ensure that people with alcohol addiction get the best treatment procedures, they shouldn’t miss asking advice from their friends or relatives.

They may also check the different reviews online to see how their chosen rehab treatment facility works.

In addition, they need to consider their budget for the rehab treatment.

Considering a rehab treatment requires enough money, patients need to allocate enough cash for the entire treatment procedures.

Conclusion

Alcohol addiction is a type of disease that affects people in various ways. However, it is essential to know that alcoholism is not a permanent disease.

It can be cured with the help of experts and other alcohol-related professionals.

Alcohol addiction may vary from one person to another. Some people consume alcohol heavily every day, while others try to limit their alcohol intake.

Regardless of how the alcohol addiction looks, people often have an addiction if they drink too much alcohol.

To end this problem, dealing with a professional or entering a rehab treatment is a must.

Through considering alcohol rehab treatment, they are given more attention, and their major concerns will be treated.

About the author

Peter Szczepanski

Pete has been on the GPhC register for 29 years. He holds a Clinical Diploma in Advanced Clinical Practice and he is a Clinical Lead in Alcohol and Substance Misuse for Abbeycare Gloucester and works as the Clinical Lead in Alcohol and Substance Use in Worcestershire. To read more about Pete visit his LinkedIn profile.