Alcohol & Fat Loss: Can Opposites Attract?
For many of us, a nice glass of wine or ice cold beer is something we enjoy on a regular basis.
And whilst there is no way to dress it up and pretend alcohol consumption is good for our health and fitness, we can most certainly lose body fat without having to go ‘tee-total’!
It is proven that if we overconsume on alcohol it will have an adverse affect on our testosterone levels, and lowered testosterone levels makes it harder for the body to efficiently burn fat and build lean muscle.
And it doesn’t end there…
With less muscle in our body comes a lowered metabolic rate – which can lead to the body storing fat more efficiently – which isn’t a good thing if your goal is fat loss!
Now, let’s briefing delve into macronutrients.
Ask most people with a standard level of health and fitness knowledge about macros and they’ll tell you about proteins, carbohydrates and fats, and how each gram has a set amount of calories assigned to them.
Protein has 4 kcals, as do carbohydrates, with fats having a beastly 9 kcals.
However, alcohol doesn’t fall into a protein, carb or fat classification – and some consider it the 4th macro.
Alcohol has 7 kcals – which doesn’t sound to bad when compared to the others.
However, the number doesn’t tell the full story.
Unlike the calories found in the main macros, alcohol calories are ’empty’ as they contain zero nutrients that benefit the body in any way!
These calories cannot be stored for use at a later time, thus must be processed straight away.
As a result of this our metabolic system switches from its normal state of functioning and focuses fully on processing the alcohol.
Therefore, if you go on a night out which involves several hours of drinking you are basically turning-off your metabolism and introducing loads of calories which take time to process.
It’s literally a fat gaining bonanza!
Add to that the increased temptation to eat junk food which occurs due to a gradual reduction of our sensibleness, and the good work of previous days can easily be wiped out!
It’s Not Just The Calories…
Just in case there is anyone on here thinking that the above means regular alcohol binges would be a good method of bulking, there are also lots of other health factors to be considered.
- Drinking alcohol often results in dehydration – and we know how important being well hydrated is for the body to function efficiently
- Alcohol consumption negatively affects the quality of our sleep
- The digestive system is irritated by alcohol, causing additional stomach acid to be created
- The digestion of foods is also negatively affected my the drinking of alcohol, which makes it more difficult for the body to absorb vital nutrients
- Regular consumption of alcohol also increases our risk of many diseases and illnesses, including many cancers and heart related conditions.
- In certain people drinking of alcohol can also increasing the likeliness of social illness, the most common being ‘ALAK’ (acting like a knob!)
These are not nice or beneficial things, and if you are a big drinker my strong advice it that you review it and put in place a plan of action to seriously reduce it.
We Can Drink Alcohol and Lose Fat…
To lose fat (often referred to as weight loss) we must be in a consistent calorie deficit – ideally each day, but if not then overall for the week.
Therefore, if you account for the calories you are consuming when drinking alcohol, and ensure you are still in a calorie deficit you WILL lose fat!
Here’s are my GymWolfPT top tips to reduce and moderate your alcohol intake…
- Prep your food for the following day prior to going on a drinking session – and make it super healthy, nutrient rich and hydrating
- Have at least 4 or 5 none drinking days each and every week
- When out for the night switch alternatingly between an alcoholic drink and water
- Track your drinking and eating – and know when to stop (the hardest part for many I know!)
- Drink at least a glass of water before going to bed
- Eat healthy and plentiful prior to going out drinking – and resist to temptation for take-away food at the end of the night
If you are not wanting to give up alcohol it certainly doesn’t mean you can’t lose fat and hit your fitness goals.
However, it needs accounting for like anything else, and the key is in moderating the consumption.
Stay Safe, Stay Strong, Wash Your Hands and Do The Right Things Daily.
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