The impacts alcohol has on your weight loss goal
As a client at Vision is taught, the body has three main energy sources. Carbs first, fat and then protein. This means that the body cannot burn fat if carbohydrates have not been used up or burnt off. Unfortunately, when alcohol enters the blood stream it becomes the primary energy source.
As alcohol has 29kj of energy per gram which is almost double the energy value of 1 gram of carbohydrates, it is going to take your body almost twice as long to burn up alcohol. Which then delays your body's ability to use its carbohydrate and fat stores.
When alcohol is ingested it will cause the body to burn it off as quickly as possible as it's a toxin. Any other stored carbohydrates are no longer required as a fuel source and these 'carbs' consumed with the alcohol are quickly stored in the muscle cells and liver. Physiologically, alcohol consumption does not directly result in fat storage. Usually it's the over-consumption of food (particularly fats and carbohydrates) like nuts, chips and dips that you eat when you are enjoying your crisp white 'chardy'
or 'bourbon and coke' is the problem.
Let's compare foods and alcohol in terms of energy intake:
So imagine you're at a 30th birthday party and you consume 5-6 bourbon and colas over the course of a 6 hour timeframe - this may be thought to be quite acceptable. However, consider how you would feel (and how it would look) if you ate 10-12 potatoes at the same party i.e. the food equivalent of the 5-6 bourbon and colas!
These are the damaging effects of alcohol:
- Clients at Vision are educated on the importance of sleep. Sleep is imperative to repairing muscle, recovery and growth. However, alcohol and sleep don't mix! Although alcohol is thought to relax and induce sleep, the sleep you get isn't very deep sleep so you ultimately get less rest.
- Alcohol is a diuretic: causing water loss and dehydration, not to mention the loss of valuable minerals like zinc, potassium, calcium and magnesium. Fluid balance, muscle movement and chemical reactions are affected if these minerals are not maintained.
- Alcohol doesn't fill you up: in fact, it will stimulate your appetite, not like the comparable amount of energy you get from food.
Research has also demonstrated by drinking before or during a meal, your willpower and inhibitions are reduced. So, the chances of you consuming more food than you normally would eat are much higher along with poor choices like a kebab and chips.
- Alcohol damages the liver. Inflammation and destruction of the cells can even lead to fatty liver disease and in turn increasing the risk or liver cancer
- Immune System can be weaken making your body a much easier target for disease. Chronic drinkers are more liable to contract diseases like pneumonia and tuberculosis than people who do not drink too much. Drinking a lot on a single occasion slows your body's ability to ward off infections even up to 24 hours after getting drunk.
Here are 8 tips to help you minimise the effects of alcohol:
1. Drink water or at least a diet soft drink in between each alcoholic drink.
2. 'Blind refills' - put a clean coaster on top of your beer or wine glass to stop automatic 'top ups' by other party goers.
3. Eat a healthy protein rich meal before going to the bar or party.
4. When drinking spirits, use lime and soda water or diet soft drinks as the mix.
5. When drinking beer or wine choose low alcohol and low carbohydrate varieties.
6. Be aware of the foods you eat in the hours prior to and while drinking. Steer clear of high carbohydrates and fat rich foods.
7. Watch the foods you eat over the next few days as a drinking session will supply your body with a higher than normal carbohydrate intake and may easily lead to fat gain.
8. A low to moderate exercise session may be useful on the day after a party to work off the oversupply of energy (BUT keep up water consumption, as exercising when you are dehydrated is not recommended).
So now you have an understanding of the impact of alcohol on your health, you can make an informed decision on when and where you think it is appropriate to consume an alcoholic beverage. Special occasions and celebrations do provide an opportunity to enjoy a few of your favourite drinks, however, be aware of the effects of alcohol and plan your intake.
Failing to prepare means preparing to fail.
*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.