Does alcohol really lead to weight gain? Nutritionist sets the record straight

It is also important to be cautious while enjoying the occasional drink or two. (Reuters)

Alcohol and alcohol consumption have long been associated with several myths — some logical and some with no credibility. A popular myth is that alcohol leads to considerable weight gain. Nutritionist Bhuvan Rastogi recently answered the question of ‘weight of alcohol’ on Instagram and set the record straight.

Taken in moderation, alcohol does not cause weight gain, increase appetite, or hamper weight loss, Rastogi said. However, over-consumption can cause higher appetite and lower muscle build-up.

To clarify, Rastogi said alcohol caused bloating — gas and puffiness. Large quantities of alcohol is inflammatory, and this is further aggravated as it’s generally coupled with an increase in foods such as carbonated drinks and sugar that cause.

The puffiness on the face, a characteristic of alcohol consumption, is thus caused by alcohol’s diuretic quality dehydrating the body. Rastogi said the human skin and organs tend to hold on to water, causing the puffiness, when dehydrated.

Rastogi also quoted a study that showed moderate alcohol consumption led to the same weight loss as another group given the same amount in calories. The nutritionist did agree, however, that over-consumption, especially regularly, causes higher appetite and less muscle build-up.

The nutritionist also shared general alcohol intake figures. He suggested some adjustments on the figures, depending on size and parameters:

1 unit of alcohol a day for five days a week with the calories accounted for and ample water intake ample

— Half pint of 4% beer (250 ml)
— 100 ml of 12% wine
— 25 ml of 40% whiskey

It is also important to be cautious while enjoying the occasional drink or two. According to a Alcohol Research: Current Reviews study, too much alcohol risks disrupting the body’s immune pathways that can then weaken the body’s ability to fight off infections or recover from tissue injuries.

Rastogi also answered how to combat the effects of drinking:

— Higher water intake on and around alcohol consumption
— lower sugar and carbonated additions in cases where gastric issues are common
— Higher duration of intake as the body can digest a limited capacity of alcohol per unit time
— Sticking to 1-2 units a day for better long-term health for regular drinkers

According to Rastogi, adequate water intake can prevent puffiness and dehydration. The nutritionist also recommended balanced food the following day and said meals throughout the day mattered more than a single meal. It is important to have a balanced meal plan for the day, he added.

For people with gastric issues, a good amount of water intake, avoiding foods that aggravate the problems are some of his solutions.

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