Alcohol and Weight Gain

Medically Reviewed By Kayla Loibl | Last Edited:  December 10 ,
| 4 Sources

Alcohol and weight gain

Alcohol and weight gain do have a correlation with each other, almost going hand-in-hand. One of the most popular alcohol weight gain culprits is beer. Beer contains a lot of carbohydrates and empty calories. Three ounces of alcohol slows the entire body down.

This affects the body’s ability to burn fat, burn calories and reduces metabolism. What many drinkers do not realize is the total effect that alcohol has on the body and all of the reasons that weight gain are often a result of drinking it.

How Alcohol Causes Weight Gain

The biggest factor when understanding alcohol weight gain is how it is caused. The easiest way to explain it is that the consumption of alcohol reduces the body’s ability to burn fat by 33 percent. Essentially, the whole body just slows down and works at a slower pace. One way to reduce this to a fat burning rate of 25 percent is to consumer one 8 ounce glass of water after every alcoholic drink.

This reduces the concentration of alcohol in the system and helps prevent it from slowing down the body as much. The foods consumed before, during and after drinking are still able to be broken down, but the process is not as impaired.

Alcohol Related Health Problems

There are several health problems associated with alcohol and weight gain. Most are a direct result from alcohol consumption, such as heart disease. The elevated risk of being diagnosed with heart disease goes up when you are a regular drinker.

Those that consume alcohol on a regular basis are also at a higher risk for stroke and diabetes as well. Alcohol consumption also affects the pancreas. Once the pancreas is compromised, the production of insulin in the body is affected. This is how diabetes develops.

Consider Switching to Virgin, Energy Boosting Refreshments


For those struggling with alcoholism and alcohol and weight gain, leave the alcohol out completely and have a virgin drink. You can still have the flavors of a great mixed drink without the alcohol and extra calories from the alcohol that slow your metabolism down.

Natural sugars, from fruit, break down faster in the body. Many fruit juices rejuvenate your body and give you more energy. Citrus fruits such as

  • lemons, 
  • limes,  
  • oranges

are classic flavors for mixed drinks; these also boost your energy level naturally. When these juices are mixed with tonic or seltzer water it is refreshing and lets you enjoy the same atmosphere with your friends.

Another classic fruit combination that can be used for virgin drinks is

  • pineapple, 
  • papaya,  
  • guava. 

Adding in passion fruit brings the feeling of being on a beach or a vacation. Instead of slowing your metabolism as alcohol does, you are boosting your energy while staying alert and safe to drive your friend's home.

Developing health problems, such as obesity from alcohol and weight gain, often leads to much more than having to buy larger clothes. Risking your health for a good time or to forget problems is simply not worth it. Alcohol weight gain is not always in an excessive amount, in some cases it is only a few pounds over the course of a year or so. It mostly pertains to those that over-indulge and drink in excess.

One drink containing alcohol per day generally does not cause any harm to the body. Those that consume three or more beers, spirits, or glasses of wine per day are primarily at risk for weight gain and health problems.

More than alcohol and weight gain on our alcoholism signs and symptoms page

Alcoholism home page

Lead Writer/Reviewer : Kayla Loibl

Licensed Medical Health Professional 

I am a Mental Health Counselor who is licensed in both New York (LMHC) and North Carolina (LPC). I have been working in the Mental Health field since 2015. I have worked in a residential setting, an outpatient program and an inpatient addictions program. I began working in Long Island, NY and then in Guelph, Ontario after moving to Canada. Read More