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Does alcohol make you fat?

Q: Does alcohol make you fat?

A: It definitely can, and here’s why. Number one, the body sees alcohol as a poison. Like a fire engine driving down the boulevard with sirens blaring, alcohol stops traffic into the liver and clears the way for the emergency. That means fat burning ceases.

Number two, alcohol inhibits a hormone called glucagon, which is kind of like insulin’s “good” sister. Insulin stores fat and glucagon releases it – and alcohol impairs glucagon.

Finally, alcohol is a disinhibitor, meaning it relaxes your guard – one of the reasons it’s such a good social lubricant. But the problem is it also relaxes your inhibitions around food, and you’ll eat stuff you normally wouldn’t. For all those reasons, alcohol can definitely contribute to weight gain.

About our expert

JONNY BOWDEN, PhD, CNS is a board-certified nutrition specialist, motivational speaker, author and expert in the areas of weight loss and health.