Contrary to popular beliefs, alcohol consumption is unlikely to slow down your metabolism. However, drinking alcohol in excess amounts may lead to high-calorie intake and weight gain, as well as many health issues.
This is one of the reasons why alcohol intake should be limited when on a diet for weight loss.
In this article we look into the effects of alcohol consumption on your metabolism, overall health, and weight.
Let’s get started!
What does alcohol do to your body?
Generally, moderate intake* of alcoholic drinks is considered safe. However, excess drinking (either on a single occasion or long-term) is associated with various health risks and adverse effects.
Short term health effects of drinking too much alcohol  :
- Poor judgement
- Coordination issues
- Memory loss
- Alcohol poisoning (in severe cases)
You may know some of these symptoms as part of the hangover symptoms “cocktail.”
In the long run, high alcohol intake could be associated with the following health conditions   :
- Mood and behavior changes
- Heart issues (cardiomyopathy, arrhythmia)
- High blood pressure
- Liver diseases (steatosis, fatty liver disease, alcoholic hepatitis, fibrosis, cirrhosis)
- Increased risk of cancer development
- Predisposition to contract diseases (e.g., pneumonia and tuberculosis)
- Blood sugar fluctuations: Depending on how much you drink, alcohol may increase or significantly decrease your blood sugar levels. When mixed with diabetes medications, alcohol may lead to very low blood sugar.
- Alcohol-related diabetes
Does alcohol make you gain weight?
Drinking alcoholic beverages can make you gain weight due to 3 main mechanisms  :
- Alcohol stops your body from burning calories
- Alcohol is high in calories (1 gram of alcohol has 7.1 kcal. )
- Alcohol makes you feel hungry and may lead to poor dietary choices
That being said, there are some studies suggesting a lack of relationship between drinking alcohol and changes in weight, BMI, and fat deposition. 
How much does alcohol slow metabolism?
Many people think that drinking alcohol will slow down their energy metabolism. However, studies are contradicting.
Most pieces of evidence suggest that alcohol intake temporarily increases resting energy expenditure (resting metabolism)  One study even found that the heavy drinkers (consuming >12.5 kcal/kg/day) in the study had lower weight, BMI and fat mass than the people drinking less alcohol (<12.5 kcal/kg/day). 
Nonetheless, evidence notes that regular alcohol intake may cause weight gain and slow down metabolism. 
Keep in mind that the following factors have more significant impact on slowing down your metabolism (as opposed to alcohol intake)    :
- Hormonal imbalances
- Strict dieting, starvation, and strict calorie restriction
- Lack of exercise and sedentary lifestyle
- Poor eating regime/diet
- Chronic health conditions (e.g., autoimmune conditions)
- Aging (after 60)
Fast vs. slow metabolism signs
The difference between slow and fast metabolism is mainly in the number of calories you burn in a day.
When talking about energy metabolism, we usually refer to resting metabolic rate or basal metabolic rate. This indicates how many calories the body burns in a day, excluding calories burned for physical activity and exercising.
Generally, people aim for increasing their metabolism because this means burning more calories at rest and is associated with lower risk of weight gain and obesity. If you are predisposed to gaining weight without changes in diet, feel sleepy and cold often, are constipated, or have slow heart rate, this could be a sign that you have slow metabolism.
Disclaimer: This article does not intend to stimulate or motivate the readers to drink (or start drinking) alcohol for recreational, medical, or other purposes. The information presented in this article is strongly and solely for educational purposes. RawBeautySource warns its readers to be careful with alcohol consumption and educate themselves about the health harms that those beverages may cause.