Alcohol and your weight

I was watching an interesting documentary on TV about alcoholism recently. There was a chronic alcoholic who admitted to drinking 14 bottles of cider per day. This man was very thin and lanky which also which made me think about consuming calories from alcohol and what happens to those calories.

How many calories are in a bottle of cider...he was drinking 750ml bottles so probably around 300 at the very least. Multiply that by 14 and you have a whopping 4200 calories consumed per day. Way more than a man's limit of 2500.

It makes me wonder what happens to those excessive calories consumed on a daily basis? As well as cider being full of hidden sugar, this man is consuming an extra 1700 calories than what he should be but he is very thin. Going by the laws of weight loss, if you consume more calories than what you burn off then those extra calories are stored as fat but surely this guy is not burning off more than 4200 calories a day?

Can anyone explain the science behind this to someone like myself who admittedly is the opposite of a smart aleck and may need a bit of guidance from time to time!


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9 Replies

  • I,ve wondered that myself. How does that work???

  • I've often wondered about that as well. To my mind it must be something to do with 'ism'. A man who drinks a lot of beer will put on weight which is weird. I think it may be something to do with the liver trying to survive? If a person has reached alcoholism state, the liver will need help. Don't laugh at me, but maybe the rest of the body puts all the energy into helping the liver out?

  • and genetics must play a part

  • That is so true, I also know someone who prefers to live on alchol rather than food and they are super slim. A good question for the slimming industry to consider a a lchol pill that dosent harm you but keeps you fat free, oh that would be bliss.

  • It has something to do with your body type. Some people can consume many calories but don't gain any weight. These people have an ectomorph or mesomorph body type. However, for the endomorph body type weight gain from excessive calories is inevitable.

  • I've run bars for many years and pretty much every alcoholic I came across when they got to that stage were thin and death not far away. They have lost appetite and become malnourished. The liver usually has stopped working and they are purely dependant on alcohol. The body is unable to heal itself and parts are ceasing to work, in short they are pissing out a lot of those calories!

    Not a good formula for losing weight!

  • I did not see the program so it's difficult to give a precise comment but a number or combination of things could be affecting him.

    Firstly you have understand that chemically alcohol is a carbohydrate, molecularly similar to sugar, nutritionally though it's not classed as carbohydrate. It metabolised by the liver, where it take priority as it can not be stored, it's oxidized whether we need the energy or not. A good example of where a calorie does not necessarily equal a calorie, if you like.

    Any fermented alcoholic drink will in addition to the alcohol sugar have simple sugar left over from the fermentation process, the amount varies depending on the drink and the flavour the manufacturer/brewer is trying to achieve. Any distilled spirit (Vodka, Whisky etc) does not have this sugar unless of course you add it via a mixer.

    If this chap is drinking over 10 litres of cider a day, then I doubt he is eating well, I would imagine he skips many meals, perhaps even going for days regularly without eating but more importantly at that level of sustained abuse he will have damaged most of the organs required for an efficient metabolism, stomach, small intestine, pancreas and liver will all be shot and inflamed, so what food he is eating I doubt he will be able to glean the full nutritional benefits from it.


  • Well whatever's going on they're not role models! They're skinny people close to death!

  • Yes I have often wonder. Some people I know will get all blotted when they overindulge in alcohol while chronic alcoholics get all skinny. I wonder if it is a stage. First you body blows up then eventually, when all your organs are sick, everything shrinks including the brain. The alcoholics more or less eat themselves from inside out? Just a thought.

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