“It’s Friday night again! Let’s go out for some drinks in our favourite pub.” Sounds familiar?
Going out and having a few alcoholic drinks is almost a synonym for most of us. And why not, when all the nice bars and clubs call out for “happy hour”!?
We’ve heard and read about it a lot these days: drink alcohol and forget your summer body. Wondered if it’s really true that alcohol can prevent you from losing your body fat? We’ve got an answer for you!
In today’s society alcohol plays a huge role in traditions and practices. It’s nearly as normal as breathing and eating. And we don’t want you to cut it out of your lives. But you should start consuming it wisely and know that every pint has an affect on your body.
Here’s the problem
Alcohol consists of empty calories, meaning calories without any nutritious value. The purest form, Ethanol, has 7 kcal per gram. In fact, you would be better off eating a nice cheeseburger, which at least has several vital macros like protein and fat.
Let’s assume you’re ordering a Pina Colada. The calories found in this alcoholic drink are quite concentrated compared to many other foods, because it contains fat and is very high in carbs (because of the syrup). Alcohol passes through our system quite rapidly and lowers our inhibitions, hence you’re ordering two more drinks.
This might also lead to eating more of the wrong kinds of foods, without thinking about the consequences. Consumed together with carbs, fats and protein it can cause an increased amount of stored fat.
But what happens in your body when the alcohol passes your lips?
Your body wants to process alcohol before all other foods in your stomach, which he normally doesn’t do. Basically it sees alcohol like the toxin it is.
The more alcohol you drink, the longer this process will take and while this lasts, your body is not able to burn any fat. The liver quickly converts alcohol to Acetate and releases it to the bloodstream. This decreases your metabolic rate.
Consumed with a caloric-heavy meal, your body will burn the ‘poison’ first, which contributes to more body fat storage. And here’s a mind blowing secret: it decreases fat oxidation for up to 3 days after a good drinking session. Yes, 72 hours.
Imagine it like pressing the ‘pause’-button on your metabolism and your body is now in a ‘fat-storing’ mode. Even your muscles and liver won’t do a great job in storing sugar as glycogen for later.
If you’re trying to build or keep your muscles, alcohol isn’t going to do you any favours either by the way.
How to drink the right way
- Don’t drink too much, because every pint counts
- Concentrate on low-carb alcohol, such as spirits like vodka, gin, rum or tequila. The worst choices would be cream based drinks. Dry white wines are also great
- If you want to drink a beer, try the low calorie alternative. Also try diet sodas with spirits
- Don’t order another drink until your previous one is empty, and always order a large glass of water together with your drink. Enjoy your drink and make it last about an hour
- Focus on a healthy meal or small protein packed snacks, with a lot of fibre and good fats before you’re consuming alcohol. This will slightly minimise the damages of drinking too much
- Keep your goals and health in mind
The good news
Moderate consumption of alcohol can improve insulin sensitivity and glycemic control, even when you suffer from type 2 diabetes. Moderate is the operative word here!
If you’re a non-drinker, just keep it that way. It’s just not worth starting, especially if health and fitness are amongst your goals.
Finally a little tip if you’re hungover: squeeze a whole lemon into a huge glass of water, right after waking up. This will hydrate you faster.