Alcohol and the Metabolism
When you consume alcohol (or any calories, for that matter), your body prioritizes what to break down or store first. However, in the case of alcohol, there is no place for your body to store it. Because of this, fats and carbs get stored while your body processes the alcohol first.
When people link the term “metabolism” with alcohol, the focus is on your digestive system and how your body processes it. Our metabolism turns the things we eat and drink into substances that our body can use. Everyone’s metabolic rate is unique based on lifestyle, habits, and genetic makeup. Alcohol is primarily broken down by two specific enzymes alcohol hydrogenase (ADH) and aldehyde hydrogenase (ALDH).
Another thing to note is that our liver isn’t the only organ involved in dealing with alcohol. Our stomach, brain, and pancreas are also involved. And because of this, it’s important to remember that our bodies can metabolize 1 OUNCE of liquor per HOUR, but that is dependent on how quickly the two enzymes ADH and ALDH work.
OUR BODIES CANNOT STORE ALCOHOL.
I know that has already been mentioned, but it’s worth repeating. When you drink alcohol at a faster rate than your liver can process it, it end ups in your bloodstream. Since the body cannot store or use alcohol, the liver prioritizes processing the alcohol before carbs and fats. Liver disease is caused, in part, by the resulting build-up of fat in the liver. At Stark we have a great supplement called “ultra liver aid” that aides your liver in processing alcohol. Just to be clear. It is NOT a fix or cure for excessive drinking and liver disease, but it is a preventive measure to help support your liver when drinking alcohol.
If we drink alcohol and gain weight, does that mean your metabolism is failing you? Very unlikely. Weight gain related to alcohol consumption comes as a result of general overconsumption linked to satiety (the feeling of being full).
Unlike other macronutrients, alcohol does not affect satiety. So the calories you consume through alcohol will not affect your appetite like other macronutrients, such as protein. On top of that, intoxication can encourage overeating and a lack of dietary restraint. The popular terms “drunk munchies” or “drunchies” may come to mind, and rightfully so. Then the icing on the cake is that most people sit and socialize when drinking, which means not only are extra calories and carbs being consumed, but you are also expending fewer calories.
Although you don’t know need to know all the science in order to make a big difference in improving your health, understanding how your body reacts with alcohol is a great start.