This may have been posted about before but I just wanted to share my experience and maybe get some insight from anyone who has had a similar experience, or is knowledgeable about this topic.
I'm 24 years old, biologically female, 5'5, weigh 8.5 stone (~120lbs) and lead a sedentary lifestyle since getting a desk job at the beginning of this year. I seem to be maintaining my weight, or gaining very slowly (1lb a month or less), on 2500-3000 calories a day, which quite frankly seems ridiculous. The thing is, around 1000 or more of those daily calories come from beer and cider. On the rare days I don't drink, I usually eat around 1500-1800 calories. I'm well aware that I need to change these habits for the sake of my health, regardless of the effect on weight, but I'm just curious about why I haven't been gaining at the rate I would expect. I do wonder if alcohol really "counts" the same as other sources of calories, as everyone always insists it does. From what I've read, the upshot seems to be that alcohol can't be stored as fat, but prevents other calories from being burned while it is being metabolised, meaning food eaten before/after drinking gets stored as fat. I also know that beer and cider do contain carbs, but the calories in these drinks from carbs alone would be far less than the total calories I am logging them as.
I guess I'm wondering if maybe we should be calculating calories from alcohol differently, since their capacity to make you gain weight is dependent on other factors like what you eat before and after and - I'm assuming - the timing of this. This isn't the case for me personally, but let's imagine someone ate their maintenance calories very early in the day and then drank later on, could alcohol still cause those calories eaten hours ago to be stored as fat, or would the alcohol just be metabolised/excreted "separately", meaning the person would ultimately maintain their weight?
I'm not going to try this as I don't actually want to gain weight (or replace one unhealthy habit with another!) but I am pretty confident that if I swapped my 5 pints of beer for 1 pint of ice cream, containing the same number of calories, I would see rapid weight gain. I suppose without trying this I won't know for sure, but does anyone else have experience of not gaining when getting a lot of calories from alcohol? Also, please feel free to correct my understanding of the science behind this - I'm not a scientist and find it all very interesting but also quite confusing!