Under normal conditions, your body gets its energy from the calories in carbohydrates, fats, and proteins which are slowly digested and absorbed within the gastrointestinal system.
As long as you are eating the right (real, natural) foods like meats, eggs, veggies, nuts, and cheese those calories are available for energy– not stored as fat.
But when you add alcohol to the mix, the digestive process changes drastically.
On an empty stomach, alcohol molecules travel directly through the stomach wall, reaching the brain and liver within minutes. This process is somewhat slower when you have food in your stomach, but as soon as the food and alcohol mix empties into the small intestine, the alcohol is absorbed quickly into the bloodstream.
Your body sends alcohol to the liver for processing. Because it is a toxin, the liver places all of its attention on the alcohol. If you drink very slowly, all the alcohol is collected by the liver and processed immediately—avoiding all other body systems. If you drink more quickly, the liver cannot keep up with the processing needs and the alcohol continues to circulate in the body until the liver is available to process it.
That’s why drinking large amounts of alcohol (or drinking alcohol quickly) affects the brain centers involved with speech, vision, reasoning and judgment. Your liver is overwhelmed.
While your body is focused on getting rid of excess alcohol, it is not able to properly break down foods containing carbohydrates and fat. To deal with that, your body converts those foods into body fat to be carried away to your fat stores.
Alcohol is also a diuretic, meaning that it causes water loss and dehydration. Along with this water loss you lose important minerals, such as magnesium, potassium, calcium and zinc. These minerals are vital to the maintenance of fluid balance, chemical reactions, and muscle contraction and relaxation. They are also important co-factors to help you burn fat. Depleting your body of vitamins and minerals will slow your ability to lose weight.
Psychologically, alcohol lowers your inhibitions. It also drops your blood sugar levels, stimulating your appetite. If you drink before or during a meal, both your inhibitions and willpower are reduced. In this state, you are more likely to crave and eat starchy or sweet foods—which can add to your waistline.
An alcohol-induced appetite means you will eat more than if you were sober. While you might be full from a comparable amount of calories from food, several drinks containing the same number of calories will not be as filling to you. So those 750 calories from your 5th beer will have you craving even more food!
The average wine drinker consumes an additional 2,000 calories more per month. That’s like eating 141 ice cream cones per year!
Avoiding alcohol during weight loss mode is one of the smartest moves you can make.
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About the Writer
Jan is a 14-year veteran in the fitness industry and has personally coached and trained thousands of people to live fit and healthy lives around the world. 100 pounds ago, she knew exactly what it is like to be obese, sick and unhappy, feeling like there was nothing that could be done about the excess fat she had gained. That is why she couldn’t be happier to be a part of the Personal Trainer Food team today. She has successfully and permanently lost the fat using the principles of this program.