Booze it you lose it: Alcohol and the Body
By Adam Valentine
The weekend is here and it’s time to party, right? Highly doubtful if your currently on a weight loss diet. Not only must you eat the same old meals again and again, but now you can’t even relax with a few shots of Grandpa’s coughing medicine. We’ve all heard the same old spill about alcohol and how it affects the body, but can you really explain why? Something tells me that the responses to this query are a bit limited. If so, this article is may enlighten you to a better path.
Alcohol is just like anything else we eat….filled with calories. These are always tagged “empty” because it means exactly what it says. The calories we obtain from drinking alcohol are not filled with nutrient dense components and virtually do nothing but poison the body. There are 7 cal/gram of alcohol, just 2 calories shy of equaling the amount in fat! In fact, alcohol doubles the amount of calories found in both carbohydrates and protein. Some drinks may claim to be low in carbohydrate count; however, they don’t tell you the large amount of calories that are strictly from the ethanol itself.
Alcohol takes an immediate effect on the body, which is why people feel drunk after less than an hour of ingestion. It inhibits fat metabolism and forces the body to concentrate its attention on burning the alcohol up quickly. It is an immediate fuel source which stops the process of burning fat as a fuel source (beta oxidation). In return, our body’s metabolic rate will slow down for quite some time depending on what type of alcohol and how much is being consumed. This could take hours to rejuvenate the beta oxidation process, which is just another way of holding on to fat for dear life.
Here’s a list comprised of all the calories you probably didn’t know were in alcohol:
One Can Of Regular 4-5% Alcohol Beer
• 14 milligrams of sodium
• 12.6 grams of carbohydrates
• 1.6 grams of protein.
• 14.2 milligrams of calcium.
• 96.1 grams of potassium.
Total Calories: 153 (includes 97 calories from alcohol).
One Glass Of Red Wine (Claret) Contains:
• 4.4 grams of carbohydrate.
• 0.1 grams of protein.
Total Calories: 123 (including 105 calories from alcohol).
One Glass Of Table Wine Contains:
• 4 grams of carbohydrate.
• .1 grams of protein.
• 11.8 milligrams of calcium.
• 146.5 milligrams of potassium.
Total Calories: 124 (including 108 from alcohol)
One Glass Of White Wine (Riesling, Chablis) Contains:
• 5.5 grams of carbohydrate.
• .1 grams of protein.
Total Calories: 120 (including 98 calories from alcohol).
These startling statics are just a brief overview of some popular beverages. All calories are dense in alcohol and limited in protein. Obviously beer is going to rank the highest among calories unless you’re a fan of mixed drinks. Mixed drinks are the nail in the coffin half the time due to large amount of calories not necessarily in the liquor, but in the drink combined with it. Just imagine a simple double shot of Crown Royal (194 calories) mixed with a coke (140 calories)….you can do the math. Don’t think switching to wine is a better choice, for it contains a devastating amount of sugar which we all know is a bodybuilder’s mortal enemy. In moderation, yes, wine is acceptable and decent for the heart muscle, but that doesn’t give you a free pass to consume it while dieting.
It’s the same story every time I hear it. “My diet is awesome, but I do have as couple drinks on the weekends.” What this actually means it that you get plastered on the weekends, and completely trash your diet until Monday starts back. This has horrible effects on the body because in this time frame and let me know if I’m wrong, the only food on your mind is alcohol, causing the body to go into a catabolic state (breakdown of muscle tissue). The long gap in between meals is due to your lack of tolerance for alcohol, and is doing nothing but slowing down that metabolic rate. In addition, the usual cheat meal before bed is a great way to store even more fat because it’s probably filled with triglycerides and sugar. The body will crave sugar when drinking because blood sugar levels crash as a result of the body ridding itself of alcohol. Eating this cheat will not only hit you in the morning, but it will put a huge hole in the progress you’ve made up to this point with your diet. You see, as we drink we become less aware and somewhat irresponsible with our thought process, and dieting is usually not the top priority as you get focused for the next keg stand. This, in return, forces you to skip your planned meal and deviate to other sources of food that aren’t quite as nutritional.
More Estrogen Please!
Interestingly enough, your hormone levels are going to be another fatal victim as a result of alcohol. As you drink, testosterone levels will dramatically drop up to 25%, while estrogen will sky rocket. It will indeed leave you struggling in the morning if your attempt a workout, regardless if your hung-over. This brings me to my next point; do you ever wake up thirsty with a headache? If so, think about how dehydrated your body is in addition to the cells that make up muscle tissue. Since 70% of our muscles are water, it would make sense to say that dehydration affects this. This can be eliminated by drinking plenty of fluids prior to bed or during your binge drinking episode. Sounds quirky but wake up and you will feel the difference.
No Time For "Good" Sleep
Alcohol alters ability to get to R.E.M. stage sleep.
In addition, your sleep patterns are going to be affected. The body must have solid R.E.M stage sleep in order to fully rest and recover. This deep sleep has been proven to release higher growth pulse rate (from anterior pituitary) which aids in tissue growth and development. This won’t be the case if your body is drunk and simply passes out. Instead, you will be left feeling really tired the next day due to the absence of this necessary sleep time. The alcohol doesn’t just affect hormones such as testosterone and HGH, but it also lowers levels of IGF-1 (our autocrine growth promoter) and protein synthesis. Protein synthesis is said to have been lowered by 20% in some cases! This is highly detrimental to one’s physique, so why even risk it?
Regardless if you’re in a bulking phase or not, binge drinking alcohol is just as detrimental to your health as smoking (don’t get me started). In either setting, you’re slowing down fat metabolism and putting on excess gains in the process. What you may have worked so hard for during the week can all be thrown away on the weekends.
Here are some helpful hints to go by the next time you’re feeling frisky:
• Have plenty of water before and after drinking
• Stick to high percentage of alcohol (liquor) without low caloric additives (mixes). Beer is the enemy, regardless if it’s light.
• Don’t splurge from your diet. Alcohol causes impaired thinking, so don’t be a statistic!
• Have meals at some point to reduce muscle catabolism. Eat within 1-2 hours of sleep to allow digestion and boost hormone levels.
• Eat whole foods in the morning and drink plenty of fluids to rehydrate the body
• Supplement with some Zinc to help boost back that loss of testosterone.
• Finally, get your butt to gym and burn off that poison.