ALCOHOL vs WEIGHT LOSS BY PETER DAY
GUEST POST BY BE SPUNKI AMBASSADOR - PETER DAY.
Everyone loves a drink - we don't want to take that away from you. It's social, fun and a great way to relax and let your hair down at the end of a busy week! But it's good to understand what the effects of alcohol has on your body, metabolism and in particular your weight loss. If you have serious health goals for muscle gain or to lose fat - then you will want to - at least temporarily - reduce or eliminate alcohol, as your results will seriously accelerate.
LET'S LOOK AT THE HARD FACTS OF ALCOHOL
1. ALCOHOL IS HIGH IN CALORIES - 7 CALORIES PER GRAM
When most people talk about macronutrients, they speak about Protein, Carbs and Fats. But alcohol is actually the 4th macronutrient that isn't often spoken about, because it has adverse affects on the body. Carbs and protein are 4 calories per gram and fat is 9 calories per gram. That means that alcohol is the second most dense form of calories behind pure fat.
2. WHEN YOU CONSUME ALCOHOL YOUR KIDNEYS AND YOUR BODY WILL TURN IT'S ATTENTION TO GETTING RID OF IT
Once you start drinking, your body including kidneys, liver and stomach, are now working to remove it. While this is pretty typical and nothing to be alarmed of, what this means is that there is less attention on the body to metabolise other foods, recover and even reduce body fat.
3. CALORIES FROM ALCOHOL ARE 'EMPTY CALORIES'
Empty calories refer to foods or drinks that contain little to no nutritional value. This is the same as sugar, certain fats and oils. As an example, if you were on 1,700 calories for weight loss - you could technically fit alcohol into those calories - but the calories which are there from alcohol would not have any positive impact on recovery, muscle growth etc. which has longer term benefits to weight loss of course.
4. ALCOHOL INTERFERES WITH 'FAT BURNING' MECHANISMS OF THE BODY
We touched on this in point 2, but when you are looking to lose weight specifically, you need to put the body into a state of "shock" which will mean it will start to burn more fat and change its composition based on the stresses which you have put on it (in a positive way). This includes - the body putting on less muscle, metabolism, bodily functions, reduction of quality sleep etc.
NOW, LET'S LOOK AT THE BEHAVIOURAL EFFECTS OF ALCOHOL
While it's important to know what physically happens to everyone when they consumer alcohol, many studies on health and fitness have shown that the behavioural side effects are often what produces the most negative (or positive depending on the study) effects. Let's have a look in more detail.
1. IT OFTEN REDUCES YOUR DESIRE TO TRAIN
No secrets here - when you drink you are just generally more likely to miss workouts, or train with less intensity.
2. WHEN YOU CONSUME ALCOHOL YOU'RE MORE LIKELY TO OVEREAT AND ALSO MORE LIKELY TO EAT HIGH CALORIE FOODS.
We've all been there ... You have a few too many to drink and all of a sudden foods that you wouldn't normally eat. And these are generally fast foods and ones that are higher in calories.
3. PEOPLE GENERALLY CONSUME 'EXTRAS' WITH ALCOHOL - SOFT DRINKS / COCKTAILS ETC
When people are drinking, you will generally have other additives with the alcohol itself to improve the taste. Cocktails are delicious, but contain many extra sugars and drinks with it! Beers are another good example. This is where a lot of clients come to us and ask "What about vodka soda or red wine?" - yes we would prefer you to have these if you can :)
But it still has alcohol as well! You're just reducing the overall impact!
When it comes to creating change in your body, you need to quickly and seriously shock it. Eliminating alcohol is one of the most effective ways to do this in the short term so your body is doing everything it can to hit your desired outcome.
There are many other factors which come into play, but these are the most common behavioural impacts we see - the more you know, the more you can reduce the impact.