Does drinking alcohol cause you to gain weight? Does drinking alcohol slow down the efforts to lose body fat? What other damaging effects does drinking alcohol have on your health.
Let's start with how many calories are in some of the more popular alcoholic drinks consumed.
Alcohol and weight loss are not friends. An occasional drink can have a place in a healthy lifestyle. Occasional, in my opinion, is not daily or even weekly it is on a special occasion maybe a few times per year and still in moderation. If you are trying to lose weight and lower your body fat you would not eat ice cream every day would you? So why would you drink every day or drink several drinks on the weekend when you would not do the same thing with ice cream that has virtually the same amount of calories?
Alcohol contains 7 calories per gram and offers ZERO nutritional value. It only adds empty calories to your diet. Why not spend your calorie budget on something healthier? This goes back to what I have always told my clients; if it is not helping you, it's hurting you.
Alcohol is metabolized very differently than other foods & beverages. Your body normally gets its energy from the calories in carbohydrates, fats and proteins that need to be slowly digested in the stomach except when alcohol is present. When alcohol is consumed, it gets special privileges and needs basically no digestion. The alcohol molecules diffuse through the stomach wall as soon as they arrive and can reach the brain and liver in minutes. Alcohol is converted into Acetate and this is a preferred fuel. This reaction is slightly slowed when there is also food in your system, but as soon as the mixed contents enter the small intestine, the alcohol grabs first place and is absorbed quickly. The alcohol then arrives at the liver for processing. The liver places all of its attention on the alcohol. Therefore, the carbohydrates (glucose) and dietary fats are just changed into body fat, waiting to be carried away for permanent fat storage in the body. This is worth repeating, when you have alcohol in your system your body will covert glucose and dietary fat into BODY FAT for permanent storage.
Alcohol is also a diuretic, meaning that it causes water loss and dehydration. Along with this water loss you lose important minerals, such as magnesium, potassium, calcium and zinc. All these minerals are vital to the maintenance of fluid balance, chemical reactions, and muscle contraction and relaxation. Only 2% dehydration can equate to 15% strength loss and it will lower protein synthesis by up to 20%, so I ask how is this beneficial to your exercise program and building lean muscle mass?
Alcohol affects your body in other negative ways. Drinking can help induce sleep since it causes a sedative effect, but the sleep you get isn't a restful deep sleep. So even though you may sleep after a night out with your friends you actually will end up with less rest. Alcohol can also increase the amount of acid that your stomach produces, causing your stomach lining to become inflamed. Over time, excessive alcohol use can lead to serious health problems, including stomach ulcers, liver disease, and heart troubles.
People enjoy alcohol because it lowers your inhibitions, which is detrimental to a well balanced diet. Alcohol actually stimulates your appetite. You might be full from the same amount of calories from food, several drinks will not fill you up so you can easily add 2-3 times the amount you need for your caloric intake. On top of that, research shows that if you drink before or during a meal, both your inhibitions and willpower are reduced. In this state, you are more likely to overeat, especially fatty and/or fried foods, which will add inches to your waistline.
Many of the foods that accompany drinking (chips, peanuts, pretzels) are very salty, which of course make you thirsty, encouraging you to drink even more.
I have heard of people skipping a meal to save calories for drinks later in the day and this is a bad idea. Knowing that drinking includes extra calories, it may be tempting to "save up" some calories by skipping a meal or two. This is a bad move. You will end up putting your body into starvation mode and your metabolic rate will decrease. If you are hungry, you are even more likely to munch on the snacks, and drinking on an empty stomach enhances the negative effects of alcohol.
After alcohol consumption, whole body lipid oxidation dropped by 73%!! So by having that drink you are adding to and keeping your body from burning body fat.
My question to you is, how good does that drink taste now? Is it worth destroying your whole goal to lose body fat and get healthy?