Could you be gaining weight due to alcohol? A nutritionist answers

We know alcohol is bad for health, but did you know that it can also add to weight gain? A nutritionist tells you all about it.
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Set small workout goals. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Grace Bains Updated: 1 Oct 2021, 05:31 pm IST
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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 adding to the weight gain.

To better understand whether alcohol consumption can make you gain weight, we spoke to Anshu Chaturvedi, Head Department of Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics, Fortis Escorts Hospital, Jaipur.

Alcohol consumption can lead to weight gain. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Is weight gain because of alcohol consumption a myth?

Right at the onset, Chaturvedi said that weight gain because of alcohol consumption is not a myth. She added that the weight gain depends on the quantity and type of alcohol being consumed.

How do different types of alcohol impact weight gain?

Weight gain primarily happens because of consuming various kinds of hard liquor, informed Chaturvedi. She highlighted how beer has the lowest number of calories amongst the alcohol variants, while scotch, whisky, and gin contain a high number of calories.

Moreover, she threw light on an important aspect of consuming snacks along with drinking alcohol. Snacks such as peanuts, roasted nuts, and chips add to indirect weight gain, as calories from both the alcohol and the snacks get compounded, said Chaturvedi.

Not only will alcohol impact your health but will also influence weight gain. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Does alcohol cause water retention?

When we consume alcohol, we end up feeling a lot more thirsty than usual, informed Chaturvedi. She said that on a day when you are not drinking, you may end up consuming about 3 litres of water, whereas when you drink alcohol, the water intake increases much beyond 3 litres.

Drinking alcohol also increases the body’s acidity levels, leading to problems with thirst control, which further contributes to water retention. However, she clarified that this phenomenon is not true for everyone, and the impact of alcohol on water retention is different for different people.

Is there a healthy amount of alcohol that one can consume?

Chaturvedi stated that no amount of alcohol consumption is advisable. She made a note that one should not breach the 30-60 ml range. She further added various studies have suggested that consumption of red and/or white wine in moderation may have a good impact on heart health. So, Chaturvedi mentioned that wine might be the healthiest option amongst the options available.

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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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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