Alcohol can wreck your metabolism, and today we’re explaining why

We know alcohol is bad for health but did you know that it can truly wreak havoc on your metabolism? Here are ways in which alcohol affects metabolism.
Another reason to give up on alcohol! Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Grace Bains Published: 20 Jul 2021, 05:01 pm IST
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So many of us wonder about how some people are able to eat whatever they wish to and still not gain an ounce of fat. Well, this ability is to be credited to their body’s metabolism, the mechanism that helps one function, lose weight, and build muscles.

As much as we enjoy drinking alcohol, we perhaps don’t always keep in mind how it affects our bodies. While many viewpoints exist on how alcohol, in moderation, can also be beneficial to health, the fact remains that the calories found in alcohol are ‘empty’. This means that excessive drinking is not just putting you at risk of heart and liver ailments, but also chipping into your metabolic rate.

What is metabolism?

Metabolism is used to describe the role of enzymes in helping the body reproduce, function, grow, adapt to various environments, digest, and maintain its functionality. It converts the food we eat into energy our body can use.

alcohol consumption
Consuming alcohol can negatively impact your body’s metabolism. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

When it comes to alcohol, it is metabolized by several processes. The most common processes involve two enzymes—alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) and aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH).

Here’s how alcohol can affect metabolism

Drinking alcohol can react in the following ways with your body’s metabolism:

1. Slow fat burning

Drinking alcohol can make the body store more fat than usual. Alcohol becomes a top priority item for the body, as it considers it a toxin, and hence metabolizes it before any other food or drink you consume. Acetaldehyde, is the enzyme responsible for this, as it forms acetate, which is further broken down into water and carbon dioxide, hence making it easy for the body to eliminate alcohol. Therefore, foods that offer nutrients may be pushed far back into the line, as well as fats. This fat may end up being stored for long durations in the body, altering the metabolism and slowing the rate of fat burning.

2. Cell degeneration

ADH metabolizes alcohol to acetaldehyde, which is a toxic substance and known as a carcinogen. Carcinogens are substances that can lead to the degeneration of cells and are linked to the formation of cancer. Carcinogens damage the genome and disrupt cellular metabolic processes.

alcohol and metabolism
Alcohol can lead to cell damage. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

3. Diminishes the body’s ability to fight damage

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The bulk of alcohol metabolism takes place in the liver and also occurs in other tissues, such as the pancreas, and the gut. Acetaldehyde is the toxic byproduct of alcohol metabolism that causes damage to cells and tissues, and the gastrointestinal tract. This damage reduces the metabolic rate, and the body’s ability to regenerate cells and tissues at a fast enough rate.

So, while drinking alcohol in moderation may be fine, excessive intake can aid weight gain, and lead to serious health ailments.

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About the Author

Grace is someone who likes writing enough to make a living out of it. When she isn’t writing, you will find her having chai and reading a book. ...Read More

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