Current studies are finding links between alcoholism and obesity mostly in women. Alcohol does have a rather high calorie count, but it is more of a psychological problem than necessarily a physical one. Recovering alcoholics may substitute food for alcohol. Studies have suggested that women who have an alcoholic family member (either a parent or sibling) are also more likely to be obese by using food as coping mechanism.
Studies have shown that people who are at risk for alcoholism or are more likely to become alcoholics are also likely to be obese. Studies hypothesize that alcohol and food may affect the same part of the brain, and so those who tend to overconsume one may have more of a propensity to overconsume the other, especially because of the effects of both on the reward center of the brain.
Few alcoholics are obese. Because many nutrients are substituted with alcohol, they tend to most often be malnourished. However, predisposition to alcoholism (through cultural or learned behavior patterns) can also predispose one to other forms of over-indulgence, including over eating and consumption of salt, fat, or sugar. Also, one avoiding alcohol may substitute with another behavior such as eating. These links are more prevalent in women; women with family histories of alcoholism are 49% more likely to become obese.
Also, alcohol can make people crave fatty or salty foods, so frequent partiers can easily gain weight this way.
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