Many people enjoy alcohol on a regular basis and it has been totally accepted in society as a social drink. Well, drinking alcohol has effects on weight loss directly and indirectly but it all depends on the amount of alcohol you consume.
Surprisingly, drinking 1 or 2 drinks a few times a week has some health benefits like improved insulin sensitivity, blood lipids and cardiac function.
On the other hand, overindulgence in alcohol has some serious and harmful effects- mental impairment, liver disease, reduced performance, possible addiction and diabetes.
Does alcohol sabotage weight loss?
Before we get to the answer of this question you need to understand the effects of alcohol on our bodies.
Did you know that a gram of alcohol contains 7 calories? This is almost double the amount of calories in a gram of carbohydrates and proteins. So if you drink a 20 gram beer your caloric intake will be 140 calories and most beers have calories ranging from 100-250 calories.
Unlike macronutrients, alcohol has empty calories; this means the calories have no nutrients at all. Because alcohol can’t be stored as fat, the body uses it as the first source of fuel together with carbs, proteins and fats, this ends up postponing the fat burning process.
As you can see a there won’t a big difference in your calorie intake if you drink one beer or a glass of wine, it’s going to add around 140 calories in your total daily calorie intake.
The problem is that most people don’t usually drink just one beer; most social drinkers drink 3 to 4 beers when hanging out with friends or over a meal. This totals to almost 500 calories, now that will definitely affect your weight loss process.
As much as you should worry about the calories in alcohol, you should also be concerned about the results of being drunk and what you eat when drinking. If you get drunk you will probably end up eating bad foods or not exercising because you’ll be hangover.
So, if you want to drink and lose weight at the same time, avoid drinking more than once a week.
Alcohol’s effect on your testosterone
Consumption of alcohol reduces the testosterone levels, this has a big effect on fat burning. Testosterone hormones also help in the gain of lean muscle mass, so when the levels go down it means slow fat burning and slow muscle gain hence a low metabolism.
The lower your metabolism the harder it’s for your body to burn fat. If you want to burn more fat while resting you’ll need to keep your metabolism elevated, this can be done through regular exercise and avoidance of alcohol.
Alcohol’s effect on your health
Heavy drinking can damage your liver, kidneys and the stomach.
Heavy drinking for a long period of time can lead to cirrhosis of the liver or even death. Long term drinking weakens the liver and can hinder it from activating vitamins, this usually leads to malnutrition. A weak stomach will slow and lessen the efficiency of food digestion, this leads to a slow metabolism which hinders weight loss.
Should you drink or not?
That is a personal decision for you to make, in terms of health alcohol has negligible benefits when drunk in moderation, but it’s not necessary for good health. Drinking will not enhance your health in any way.
If you are in the process of losing weight, consume alcohol in moderation or avoid it completely. I understand drinking in moderation is problem for many people, even me, and that’s why I had to quit.
If you are a regular drinker you are now aware of how alcohol can affect weight loss or muscle gain process.
Do you think one should avoid alcohol completely or drink in moderation in order to lose weight?