Does Alcohol Increase Belly Fat when you’re Over 40?
Whenever you hear that alcohol will increase belly fat, you must consider what else is also associated with drinking; specifically eating poor choices of food. Alcohol definitely increases your appetite and when you’re drinking you almost always grab whatever is near you and overeat. Add to that the fact that when most people drink and then eat it is usually later at night when your metabolism is at it’s slowest. That is when you pack on the lbs.
When your over the age of 40 this scenario only gets worse because now your metabolism has slowed even more due to your age and the weight gain seems to be magnified.
Research has proven that alcohol can alter your body’s perception of hunger and fullness. First of all, drinking stimulates additional eating (binging) and all those additional calories don’t have a snowflakes chance of being burned or utilized by your body; you get fat (or fatter). You usually get fat in the belly not to mention everywhere else.
Another thing; alcohol really screws up your hormone levels for 24-48 after drinking.
Alcohol contains 7.1 calories per gram and these calories always count as part of the energy balance equation… or do they? Due to changes in liver function with chronic excessive alcohol consumption the alcohol metabolizing pathways don’t function as well as a person that consumes very-little to no alcohol at all.
Even if binge drinkers, daily drinkers or heavy drinkers would consume most of their calories from alcohol and they ate very little; they would actually remain in a calorie deficit mode, and they would still not get fat.
The bottom line is…
Alcohol Does Not Increase Belly Fat (by itself, anyway)
Instead…The fat gain comes from all the extra calories that you eat when you are making bad choices when you are drinking.
So, the idea that alcohol just automatically turns into fat or gives you a beer belly is mistaken. It’s a fact that alcohol suppresses fat oxidation (fat burning), but rather, alcohol does add a lot of extra “empty” calories to your diet, screws up your hormone levels for 24-48 hours after drinking and definitely stimulates your appetite, and then you consume even more calories than you would if you were not drinking.
But…If you drink in moderation, and if you’re aware of the calories in the alcohol and don’t go overboard and make the bad food choices, you won’t get fat.
Now, that doesn’t mean “You can drink all you want and still lose fat” the key is moderation!
Now obviously, the very best and most effective way that you will successfully lose weight “especially when your over the age of 40” is to not consume alcohol when your on a weight loss program…but if you’re gonna drink alcohol Here are some practical tips for drinking alcohol “smartly” while still losing weight.
(1) Don’t drink on a weight loss program. Even though you could drink and get away with it; if you’re really serious about losing all that extra weight, it certainly does not help you lose fat and it really does rob your body of all the vital nutrients that are needed to help your body function to it’s full capacity when you are trying to lose fat.
(2) Drink in moderation. If you’re gonna drink, drink in moderation and only occasionally, such as on weekends or when you “go out” for dinner.
(3) Don’t drink on a daily basis. Daily drinking is something that I don’t recommend because this is the point where you will fail at trying to lose weight. If you can’t “not” drink on a daily basis, then your weight loss really isn’t that important to you.
(4) Count the calories that you drink. If you decide to have a bottle or 2 of beer or a couple of glasses of wine. Know the calorie content of those drinks and keep track of those extra calories.
(5) Control your appetite. The best way is to “decide” before you even start to drink; exactly what you are going to have to eat and do not straw from that decision. Don’t get buzzed and start eating a bunch of wings or chips with the excuse later on of “well, that was the only thing around to eat”.
(6) Stay away from fatty foods when drinking. Duh! It’s not Rocket Science to figure that one out, yet almost everyone is guilty of it… (Yes, even me)!
(7) Enjoy it without guilt. If you choose to drink (moderately and sensibly), don’t feel guilty about it. Just don’t make it a daily habit!