The Effect of Alcohol on Body Structure

The Effect of Alcohol on Body Structure

The effect of alcohol on body structure is a complex issue, according to the NCAA (2013), ethanol is stored as fat. But this is not a straightforward answer. During the metabolism of ethanol, excess acetate is produced and it is transported and oxidized in peripheral tissue instead of normal fat oxidation, this process does not rely on insulin. Up to 80% of acetate is oxidized in peripheral tissue and only a small amount (less than 5%) is directly converted to fat. (Siler, Neese, & Hellerstein, 1999).

Alcohol can negatively impact body composition by interfering with normal fat oxidation, leading to fat storage. Additionally, poor food choices are often made before, during, and after drinking, resulting in excess calorie intake, especially with large or moderate alcohol consumption. Decreased physical activity levels associated with heavy alcohol use compound the problem. Monitoring and controlling alcohol intake is crucial to avoid unwanted fat gain.

Moderate alcohol consumption has been linked to lower fat mass compared to both non-drinkers and heavy drinkers (Foster & Marriott, 2006). Women seem to especially benefit from moderate drinking (Beardsley, 2014; Thomson et al., 2012), while male drinkers are more likely to have abdominal fat (Beardsley, 2014; Liangpunsakul et al., 2010) as their waist-to-hip ratio is linked to their alcohol intake.



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Consuming large amounts of alcohol regularly can show bad effect of alcohol on body structure. On top of that, it can lead to decreased lean muscle mass, known as alcohol myopathy, due to reductions in testosterone, protein synthesis, and effects of reactive oxygen species produced during metabolism. These disruptions and changes can impact body composition, with men who drink heavily being most affected.