The energy content of alcohol is quite high when compared to other sources of energy (e.g. fat or carbohydrates). Alcohol contains 7.1kcal per gram, which means that one standard drink is 71 calories.
Alcohol is different from other energy sources because it cannot be stored and has little nutrients. When you drink, your body will use alcohol as its preferred fuel source, meaning you stop burning body fat as a source of energy, and store any food you may have eaten as fat.
As well as interfering with your normal metabolic processes, alcohol also affects how hungry you feel and how full you feel after eating. A research study that compared the appetites and food intake of people who had 4 standard drinks to people who only had 1, found that people who had 4 drinks reported:
The combined effects of feeling hungrier after drinking, being more likely to eat fatty food after drinking, and your body processing the alcohol instead of the food you have eaten (which it stores as fat), can lead to weight gain in the short and long term. The exact effects of alcohol on your body weight will depend on a number of things such as your overall diet, genetic background, gender and level of physical activity, but overall, frequent and prolonged use of alcohol has been linked to the development and maintenance of obesity.
Courtesy of the Better Health Channel