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5 Causes of Weight Gain after Quitting Alcohol (How to Avoid it)

Quitting alcohol, even briefly, changes your body and your mind significantly.

If you have been drinking in excess, your liver, heart and body will thank you. The recommended daily drinking for adults is one drink for women and two for men.


5 Causes of Weight Gain after Quitting Alcohol (How to Avoid it)

Stopping taking alcohol benefits your body in the following ways.


Liver cirrhosis is a late stage of liver damage where the organ is covered in scars.

It is caused by hepatitis and chronic alcohol consumption. If you stop drinking, these fatty changes in the liver can become reversible.

If you quit alcohol and you hadn’t developed it, you reduce the risk of developing it.


When you take alcohol, it is metabolized in the liver by an enzyme called dehydrogenases. When you drink excessively, the enzyme gets saturated with alcohol and is broken down by a different enzyme.

This leads to bad cholesterol getting oxidized,, making the fats get deposited in the carotid arteries, which then get a blockage.

Excessive consumption of alcohol increases the risk of heart disease. Quitting booze will protect your heart from cardiovascular disease.


Quitting alcohol also reduces the risk of brain, neck, gut, liver, breast, colon and rectal cancer.

According to the US Dept. of Health’s National Toxicology Program, alcohol is a known human carcinogenic.

Cancer Network reports that 4.2% of all cancer deaths worldwide were caused by alcohol consumption.


Excessive consumption of alcohol can lead to memory loss and loss of concentration. Excessive booze is also linked to Korsakoff Syndrome,, a chronic memory disorder caused by a deficiency of vitamin B-1.

Too much alcohol can also lead to other neurological disorders.

Quitting alcohol reduces the potential brain damage you get from too much alcohol.


Alcohol is a diuretic. This means that it makes the body release more fluids. Alcohol also decreases the body’s ability to produce the antidiuretic hormone, which helps the body reabsorb water.

Quitting alcohol, even just for a few days, will show improvements in your skin. Studies have found a link between alcohol use and skin conditions like psoriasis, eczema, acne and superficial skin infections.


Alcohol is high in calories. If you’re a heavy drinker, you may shed some weight after dropping a beer, wine and cocktails.

However, this may not always be the case, as some people may not see any weight loss even after quitting alcohol.



This is when you use food to replace alcohol.

If you reach for a soda or a juice where previously you’d have reached for a beer, you’ll end up consuming more calories than before.

Usually, you’d consume about a glass of wine with a meal. If you replace that with a can of soda, you’ll consume more calories. One glass of wine contains about 83 calories. Whereas one can of soda contains 138 calories

Fatty or sugary foods produce a dopamine rush similar to alcohol. Reaching for candies or cake instead of wine is known as transfer addiction,, leading to weight gain after quitting alcohol.

Heavy drinkers often have chronic low blood sugar. This is because alcohol consumption leads to an increase in insulin secretion. It can also be because alcohol disrupts liver function.

When the body’s blood sugar is low, the pancreas releases a glucagon, that tells the liver to break down stored energy and release glucose back into the bloodstream.

When you consume too much alcohol, your liver is unable to do that. Quitting alcohol doesn’t immediately make the liver go back to normal, and the lingering effects can make you feel like you have hypoglycemia.

Your body will instinctively try to correct that by consuming sugary foods. Avoid falling into this trap by having healthy snacks at reach instead. Drink more water for refreshment and find helpful ways to avoid binge eating.


You may find yourself still seeing weight gain after quitting alcohol.

This is because excessive drinking stresses the stomach and intestines. Studies show that this leads to decreased digestive secretions. When your body can’t break down food into micronutrients to be absorbed, the rest of the energy is stored as fat.

When you consume alcohol, the body gives priority to its breakdown as a source of energy. Instead of burning fat and sugar for energy, alcohol is used.

Heavy drinking will make your body lower its metabolic rate.

Additionally, alcohol lowers testosterone levels which lowers your body’s ability to burn calories at rest.

Because of this, your body will have to give itself a long adjustment period to correct its metabolism after quitting alcohol.

The best way to do this is by doing cardio-intensive exercises like circuit training which boost your body’s metabolism.

Because your body is designed to store excess fat, you will find yourself with a larger belly.

Belly fat is notoriously difficult to lose. Beer belly after quitting drinking will not disappear immediately.


Alcohol use disorder is linked to depression.

Studies show that depression leads to decreased appetite. When you quit drinking, your appetite may return. Quitting drinking may also lead to your gastrointestinal tract, eventually being able to absorb nutrients properly.

Due to increased food consumption and absorption, you may experience weight gain.


Even after quitting drinking, you may have trouble sleeping.

Studies found that sleep problems can last for many months after quitting drinking. Sometimes this could be due to having sleep problems before alcohol dependence. It could also be a symptom of alcohol withdrawal.

Sleepless nights can trigger weight gain. Studies show that going without sleep can make the body shift its metabolism to store fat and deplete muscle.

Further studies also found that people who don’t get enough sleep eat more carbs, leading to weight gain.

Ensuring you get the recommended eight hours of sleep will help you avoid weight gain after quitting alcohol.


Quitting alcohol can lead to multiple side effects like insomnia, dehydration, which can lead to fatigue.

Studies also show that liver damage can also lead to exhaustion. Sudden lifestyle changings like quitting alcohol can also lead to fatigue.

Due to the decrease inactivity, you may experience weight gain. Consuming complex carbs, and taking healthy stimulants like green tea can help boost your activity levels.

This will help you avoid sedentary based weight gain after quitting alcohol.


It is normal to gain weight after drinking if your appetite or activity habits have changed. However, if you haven’t, there may be other underlying reasons for your weight gain like hypothyroidism or menopause.

It’s important to keep tabs on your weight to ensure you don’t have a serious underlying condition.

If you’re experiencing rapid weight gain or weight loss, it’s best to seek medical attention.


It’s highly recommended to consume alcohol in moderation or not at all. Quitting alcohol will show positive changes in your body.

Weight gain after quitting alcohol shouldn’t be a concern and can be easily managed unless you have other underlying conditions.

Make sure you talk with your doctor as you change your lifestyle to make sure.

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