Why is drinking associated with weight gain? Is it because alcohol turns to sugar?
Alcohol has seven calories per gram but, unlike foods, which require time for digestion, alcohol is quickly absorbed. According to Brown University Health Promotion, about 20% of alcohol is absorbed directly through the walls of an empty stomach and can reach the brain in about one minute. Most of the remaining 80% is absorbed through the small intestine and then goes directly to the liver, where enzymes break it down.
How alcohol contributes to weight gain is both because it provides a source of quick calories, and because of the liver’s job in processing it; since the liver considers alcohol a toxin, it will go to work on it first, before fat, protein, or carbohydrate.
So if you are consuming alcohol on a regular basis and exercising, you are burning the calories from alcohol first, then followed by food and lastly fat in the absence of food.