Alcohol and Weight Loss
Several studies have found that moderate drinkers are less likely to die, have reduced rates of heart disease and depression and they tended to have lower cholesterol, lower blood sugar levels, and suffer less from stress.
As these health parameters are all indicators of hypothalamic function, it appears that moderate drinking is beneficial for the function of the hypothalamus and therefore appetite and weight loss. (The hypothalamus in the brain controls metabolic health, body weight and appetite. Read more on this here.)
HOWEVER, this is not the case for binge drinking mice.
A study which compared moderate drinking with binge drinking and tee total mice found that the binge mice gained more than three times as much weight as the moderate mice and about twice as much as the control mice.
The moderate mice gained less weight than the tee-total mice.
Moderate drinking appears to be beneficial for body weight regulation.
However we have to be careful not to drink too much.
Although a moderate amount of alcohol can be good for hypothalamic, metabolic health and appetite, alcohol calories are easy to over-consume.
Alcohol calories are not as satiating and as well, we often consume alcohol for fun and continue to drink even when we are satiated.
This means that it is easy to consume more calories than we actually need when we are drinking for pleasure.
Excess calories means weight gain and will hinder weight loss efforts.
However, a moderate amount of alcohol will benefit the metabolic regulator in the brain (the hypothalamus) and lead to better appetite control and a natural reduction in calorie intake.
A recent study found that mice who adopted a moderate daily drinking practice experienced a 40% drop in LDL cholesterol!
However , mice who adopted a weekend-binge drinking practice, experienced a 20% INCREASE in LDL.
Alcohol causes an increase in bile acid production.
Since bile acid signalling powerfully boosts the hypothalamus; this larger bile acid pool means an improvement in the performance of the hypothalamus to boost metabolism, increase fat burning and reduce the appetite, at the same time as improving a whole multitude of other health parameters, also controlled by this master health regulating system in the brain. (Read more)
However, excessive alcohol intake leads to a build up of bile acids in the liver, which can lead to steatosis.
Because bile acids are getting ‘stuck’ in the liver, they are not available to activate receptors in the intestine and send the boosting signals to the hypothalamus.
This means that binge drinking leads to a reduced function of the hypothalamus and poorer metabolic health and weight gain.
Moderately drinking red wine, and even white wine, to a lesser extent; will be even more beneficial for health and body weight regulation, due to the polyphenols they contribute.
These natural substances, found in certain fruit and vegetables, are highly beneficial for health, appetite control and weight loss.
They improve the composition of the bacteria in the intestine, which improves the signals sent up to boost the hypothalamus.
Takeaway: A glass or two, of wine at night, will improve general health, appetite control and body weight regulation.
Any more than this and you risk an over-consumption of calories, which will hinder weight loss or lead to weight gain.
With over-consumption of alcohol, you also risk disrupting metabolic/general health and appetite/body weight control via a disruption of the master health regulator, the hypothalamus.