The effect of alcohol on weight loss depends to a large extent on diet, gender, genetics and habits. However, generally speaking, alcohol is broken down into acetate. As the human body does not have a mechanism for storing alcohol, it is immediately broken down. The metabolism of all other foods is stopped to complete this process. Alcohol is also known to temporarily inhibit the process of lipid oxidisation or burning up of fats. Thus, fats tend to accumulate in the body.
We also usually consume high carbohydrate snacks along with our alcoholic drink, perhaps due to the fuzzy and muddling effects of alcohol on our brains. This carbohydrate also finds its way into our body causing weight gain.
Much has been said about the health benefits of moderate drinking. This school of thought advocates a glass of wine before meals as an excellent method of increasing HDL or good cholesterol in the body. However, like any other food, alcohol too contains extra calories, which contributes to weight gain. Furthermore, judgement tends to get clouded after a few drinks and it becomes increasingly difficult to stick to weight loss or diet plans. In fact, there is a high probability that you might even succumb to sudden hunger pangs and indulge in fast foods containing high fats and carbohydrates.
Intense food cravings have been seen as a result of an increase in alcohol consumption. Not only would you crave foods rich in carbohydrates and sugars, but the probability of binging should be considered as well. Clouded judgement resulting from drinking may also account for not remembering the indulgence. Unfortunately, the harm has been done and calorie count has increased along with alcohol consumption. Thus, even if occasional alcohol does not directly contribute to weight gain, the indirect consumption has caused the same result. A hangover, the next morning is also known to trigger a craving for unhealthy, greasy foods that will lead to weight gain.
Frequent alcoholic binges can result in various health issues, including liver damage and obesity; both causes of serious ailments at a later stage. Liver damage if severe, may also affect the ability of the liver to activate vitamins, thus causing malnutrition problems for alcoholics. Similarly, alcohol consumption is known to affect metabolism in many individuals when the body is unable to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Unfortunately, frequent consumption of alcohol tends to harm the liver as well as the metabolic process. Thus, the fatty acids from alcohol do not get metabolized easily and get accumulated in the liver and cause liver failure.
Glucose intolerance and diabetes are often side effects of excessive drinking. Even occasional drinking spurges can cause a sudden and dangerous drop in blood sugar levels, particularly if drinking on an empty stomach. Alcoholics tend to be thinner than their counterparts and friends. They also have low BMIs. Thus, while an occasional drink does not do much harm, habitual drinking has been found to be directly proportionate with an increase in the waist to hip ratio. It would be safe to conclude that alcohol is best avoided to prevent weight gain and remain healthy.