Long-Term Moderate Drinking May Prevent Beer Belly

Staff Writer
New studies discuss why weight loss and weight gain are associated with alcohol

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

The morning after a night of heavy drinking could leave you with regrets for many reasons. Maybe you indulged in that late-night slice of pizza, texted your ex, or maybe you just had one beer too many. Two out of these three regrets contribute to the question of weight and alcohol consumption.

Recent studies by experts are starting to figure out the specifics of why some women get that unwanted 'beer belly,' and why some are able to not gain an ounce.

The breakdown of average booze is a basic combination of sugar, carbs, and pure alcohol (ethanol). After you chug it down, your stomach absorbs the alcohol first through the stomach lining, going straight to your bloodstream and getting you tipsy. The carbs and sugar that remain are digested through the route of regular digestion. Ethanol has no nutritional value (no surprise there) so your body breaks it down and burns it off first. This means any other calories in your stomach (the drunken slice of pizza or the shots) will be easily stored as fat.

But then, there are those lucky ladies who have no problem munching and drinking daily, without gaining the gut. A 2010 study published by the Archives of Internal Medicine found that women who had up to two drinks a day were less likely to gain weight than those who declined the drink. Not fair right? Well, studiers said that their bodies adapted to long-term moderate alcohol consumption, and they burned more calories digesting the alcohol, according to Dr. Lu Wang of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. "Your body adjusts metabolically to the amount you drink, and when you don't drink regularly, your body can't adjust," Wang said.

So much for budgeting your alcohol calories for the weekend ladies night.

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