Why Do People Gain Weight After Quitting Drinking?

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While alcohol leads most people to gain weight, alcoholics have a different relationship with the drug than most people do. The average alcoholic gains 10 pounds when he goes into recovery.

When alcoholics quit drinking, their appetites often increase.
When alcoholics quit drinking, their appetites often increase. (Image: Luca Francesco Giovanni Bertolli/iStock/Getty Images)

Compensating

An alcoholic is used to having a drink in her hand at all times. When she quits drinking, she will look for something to do with her mouth and hands, like eating. Cigarettes and coffee are popular among alcoholics for the same reason.

An alcoholic is used to having a drink in her hand at all times.
An alcoholic is used to having a drink in her hand at all times. (Image: Peter Kim/iStock/Getty Images)

More Time

When alcoholics quit drinking, they have a lot more time in their day. Boredom can lead to mindless eating.

Boredom can lead to mindless eating.
Boredom can lead to mindless eating. (Image: zorattifabio/iStock/Getty Images)

Longer Meals

Many alcoholics drink rather than eating, or rush through meals to return to drinking. A recovering alcoholic will linger at the table, consuming more calories.

A recovering alcoholic may linger at the dinner table longer and consume more calories.
A recovering alcoholic may linger at the dinner table longer and consume more calories. (Image: kzenon/iStock/Getty Images)

Pancreatitis

Chronic alcoholism damages the pancreas, which is responsible for insulin and blood sugar regulation. Without proper pancreas function, an alcoholic’s appetite may get out of control, especially with cravings for sugary foods.

An alcoholic's appetite may get out of control.
An alcoholic's appetite may get out of control. (Image: mediaphotos/iStock/Getty Images)

Getting Healthy

Chronic alcoholism leads to stomach problems like gastric bleeding and ulcers, which make eating unpleasant. When an alcoholic’s stomach recovers after chronic abuse, she can eat without pain again, gaining weight.

After an alcoholic's stomach recovers, she will be able to eat again without pain or gaining weight.
After an alcoholic's stomach recovers, she will be able to eat again without pain or gaining weight. (Image: LuminaStock/iStock/Getty Images)

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