“Lay off the booze” is often what you hear when you’re trying to lose weight. Especially if you have a “beer belly”.
But, although I don’t drink a drop of alchohol myself (surprised?), most people do, so it’s important to know the real facts – not just made up crap put out by Big Food, Big Alcohol or Big Pharma.
And if you do drink at all you will want to read this very carefully. Because there is going to be a bombshell coming up that will make you sit up and take notice.
What the studies say about weight loss and booze.
“The conclusion from the most recent such studies: While heavy drinkers risked gaining weight, “light to moderate alcohol intake is not associated with weight gain or changes in waist circumference.”
This is a study of studies and it seems to show that some alcohol intake is OK and won’t cause weight gain, but heavy drinking almost always does.
That makes sense, right?
But not so fast. That bit is not telling anywhere near the whole story of this study. In fact, after reading it I’m pretty convinced that the above quote is just a bunch of wishful thinking by the columnist who reported on this piece. Not very responsible, but that’s why I’m here to slice and dice this data.
Because in this study we also find:
A direct link between alcohol and obesity.
despite the important limitations of current studies, it is reasonable to say that alcohol intake may be a risk factor for obesity in some individuals, likely based on a multitude of factors.
What this means is that while low to moderate alcohol intake is not linked to weight gain in many individuals, it is in some – probably because of the estrogenic nature of alcohol messing with your hormones.
Alcohol is HIGHLY Estrogenic
Estrogen, as you know, is the primary female hormone, although men have estrogen too, but in much lower quantities.
When you add alcohol to the mix, you add estrogen like compounds.
In a study on men drinking beer and wine this is what was found.
ESTRADIOL LEVELS WERE SIGNIFICANTLY ELEVATE
These estrogen compounds have a pretty radically feminizing effect on men (and is why I don’t drink alcohol myself), but it’s also why men get beer bellies and man boobs from drinking too much beer in particular.
Because beer has some of the highest estrogen compounds of all alcohol. It’s all estrogenic, but beer is the worst.
For this reason alone, it may be a good idea to avoid alcohol. The estrogens are both feminizing and create weight gain. And these aren’t the only hormones that alcohol influences.
Alcohol influences hormones linked to satiety.
Alcohol has also been shown to influence a number of hormones linked to satiety. The results of several studies propose that alcohol may influence energy intake by inhibiting the effects of leptin, or glucagon-like peptide-1
Satiety just means whether or not you feel hungry when you should. Alcohol can mess with the regulation of these hormones and leave you feeling hungry when you don’t really need food.
So if you are a person who eats mindlessly anyway (and many of us do), then this is really bad news for you, because it will just make you want to eat more. You also may want to stay away from alcohol if this is the case.
If you must drink don’t drink beer
Because of the way that alcohol affects your hormones, especially the feminizing estrogens, I don’t recommend drinking it at all.
But I realize that for many people not drinking at all is a bit of a stretch. So here’s the plan of action if you want to drink some and still control the feminizing effects and the weight gain.
The biggest thing here is not to drink beer. Beer has the most estrogen like compounds of any alcohol… they don’t call it a beer belly for nothing.
Clear alcohol tends to be the best type to consume, but only in limited quantities. Remember all alcohol affects your hormones and can cause weight gain, especially in quantity.
So, while I don’t recommend drinking alcohol in general, you really, really want to stay away from beer.
And watch out for sneaky study summaries – sometimes you have to dig a little deeper to get the real info.
Feminization of alcohol, effects on androgens and estrogen in the male testes and liver