Alcohol contains empty calories and has no nutritional value. Your body can’t store alcohol, so it must metabolize it right away. Metabolizing alcohol, however, can have a detrimental effect on other metabolic processes. Here’s what you should know about alcohol and your metabolism. People who regularly drink a lot of alcohol often do not realize how bad the effect of alcohol is on weight loss and on overall health in general. Although overeating is the biggest cause of overweight we could go as far to say that massive intake of alcohol certainly belongs to one of the biggest causes of overweight in human beings, next to being one of the most unhealthy types of nutrients you can consume. Of course, if you never drink alcohol or only drink alcohol sporadically it hardly has any effect on your body weight but if you are a regular consumer of alcoholic beverages you should be cautious with the amounts of alcohol you drink, especially when you want to lose weight. For people who want more information on giving up alcohol to lose weight, read further below.
Alcohol and Nutrition
Alcohol contains only empty calories and has no nutritional value. It can often contribute to malnutrition because the high levels of calories in most alcoholic drinks can account for a large percentage of your daily energy requirements. Even one alcoholic drink a day can contribute to malnutrition.
Your body can’t store alcohol, so it must metabolize it right away. When you drink alcohol, your body makes metabolizing it a priority over all other metabolic processes. Your body sends alcohol to the liver, which produces the enzymes necessary for the oxidation and metabolism of alcohol.
Not only does alcohol not contain any nutrients of its own, but it can impair your body’s ability to absorb nutrients and vitamins from the food you eat. Alcohol irritates your gastrointestinal tract, and can damage your body’s ability to absorb nutrients, vitamins and minerals from the food you eat.
Alcohol and Your Liver
Alcohol is toxic to your liver, and if you drink heavily for a long time you can experience cirrhosis of the liver and death. Heavy drinking over the long term can also impair your liver’s ability to activate vitamins, which contributes to the malnutrition often suffered by long term alcoholics.
Alcohol and Blood Sugar
Maintaining adequate blood sugar levels is one of the key functions of your metabolism, but when you drink alcohol, maintaining healthy blood sugar levels is one of the first elements of metabolism to be shoved aside in your body’s rush to excrete the toxins as efficiently as possible. Alcohol inhibits your body’s ability to make glucose and to maintain healthy levels of glucose (or blood sugar) in the blood. Over time, heavy drinkers develop glucose intolerance and can even become diabetic.
Even occasional alcohol consumption can cause dangerous drops in blood sugar levels, especially when consumed on an empty stomach. That’s why drinking alcohol can be very dangerous for diabetics and hypoglycemics.
Alcohol Can Cause Weight Gain
Because your body can’t store alcohol and must metabolize it right away, other metabolic processes suffer. Your body won’t metabolize sugars and fats as efficiently during the metabolism of alcohol, and drinking heavily can cause your metabolism to slow. This can contribute to weight gain, as can the empty calories found in alcohol. You can use FitDay.com to keep track of the calories you consume and your nutrition, so that alcohol doesn’t hinder your weight loss plans or put you at risk of malnutrition.
Alcohol Also Causes Weight Loss
Alcohol can also cause weight loss in those who drink heavily over the long term. Alcohol continues to slow the metabolism of long term drinkers, but it also causes inflammation in the organs of the digestive tract. If you drink heavily in the long term, alcohol can impair your body’s ability to absorb nutrients. If you become chronically malnourished due to alcohol consumption, you’ll lose weight in spite of your slower metabolism.
Know The Amount of Calories In Alcoholic Drinks
When you’re serious about losing weight it comes in handy to know how many calories your favorite alcoholic beverage contains. As explained above, pure alcohol contains about 7 calories per gram and carbs contain about 4 calories per gram. To calculate how many calories your favorite alcoholic drink contains you need to combine the amount of calories caused by the amount of alcohol and the amount of carbs inside your favorite drink. Below we listed a few of the most popular alcoholic drinks with their nutritional value for you. (go to the how many calories to lose weight page to learn more about weight loss and calories)
|Sizing||Alcohol %||Carbs||Total Calories|
|Bud Light (beer)||12oz||4.2%||6.6g||110cal|
|Miller Lite (beer)||12oz||4.2%||3.2.g||96cal|
|Corona Extra (beer)||12oz||4.6%||14g||148cal|
|Heineken Lager (beer)||12oz||5%||11.5||150cal|
|Red Wine (table)||3.5oz||12%||2.7g||88cal|
|White Wine (table)||3.5oz||12%||2.7g||84cal|
|Rose Wine (table)||3.5oz||12%||1.4g||73cal|
7 Calories per Gram in Alcohol
That’s right, pure alcohol is worth 7 calories for every gram to the human body. When we know that pure fat contains 9 calories per gram it should be obvious that drinking too many alcoholic beverages has a major effect on weight loss, a bad one! Also, these 7 calories per gram is WITHOUT the addition of calories that come with carbs inside the alcoholic beverages you drink, which causes you to gain even more weight.
Alcohol Slows Down Fat Burning
There is another negative effect of alcohol when it comes to weight loss; It slows down the burning of fat your body does. After you’ve consumed an alcoholic drink your body will always process the alcohol first. This means that when you’ve just consumed your meal your body will not be able to process the fat, carbs and proteins inside your body because it needs to process the alcohol first. This will slow down the entire process of burning calories and fat and will result in a higher chance to gain weight.
So How Much Alcohol Is “Too Much” When Losing Weight?
Although one could argue that any amount of alcohol has a bad effect on human health and weight loss we should also allow ourselves to have a little fun in life once in a while. Almost everyone enjoys a nice glass of beer or wine from time to time and it would be too extreme to disallow ourselves this pleasure. So how many glasses of alcohol a day can you drink, you might ask? This is totally up to you. If you don’t want to risk feeling worn out “the day after” you should never drink more as 3 glasses a night. If you don’t want to harm your weight loss progress too much you should limit yourself to 1 glass a day, or 7 glasses a week.
Alcohol And Muscle Building
A lot of people, definitely a lot of men, focus on gaining muscles while working out to lose weight. If you are one of those persons you need to realize that drinking alcohol is one of the worst things you can do to your body if you want to build muscles. Alcohol drastically sabotages the muscle growing process that’s going on inside your body after working out. Some professional bodybuilders even go as far to say that you destroy all of the hard work you did on a workout day if you drink too much alcohol afterwards. If you’re serious about gaining muscles, you should be cautious when it comes to your alcohol intake.
Possible Negative Effects On Health and Condition
Next to the negative effects of alcohol on losing weight, alcohol also possibly has one of the worst effects on human health compared to almost any other nutrient. Alcohol can negatively effect almost any part of your body;
From your muscles to your heart and even your brain. Besides the obvious negative effects on losing weight when it comes to the amounts of calories alcohol contains, drinking alcohol also has a negative effect on weight loss in the form of the condition your body is in when regularly consuming too much alcohol. This bad coniditon has a negative effect on weight loss because it will limit you when you working out, something most people do when they are attempting to lose weight. When you drink too much alcohol the night before the day that you exercise, you will feel worn out and you will not be able to work out as intensively as you normally could. Therefore it’s adviced to not drink too much alcohol the night before you exercise. This means that if you are serious about exercising every day you should never drink large amounts of alcohol, ever.
Possible Health Benefits of Consuming Alcohol
Several studies show that consuming alcohol could also have health benefits to the condition of your body and its organs. The studies show that light alcohol use can reduce the risk of heart diseases, kidney diseases and diabetes. More information about this on this page: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/alcohol/SC00024.