Alcohol and Weight Loss

While many experts note the health benefits of consuming a single drink per day, it’s also a fact that exceeding this can sabotage your weight loss plans.

* Did you know alcohol actually causes fat to be STORED instead of being utilized as an energy source? Alcohol is metabolized differently than other foods and beverages. When alcohol is consumed, it gets special privileges and needs no digestion. The alcohol molecules diffuse through the stomach wall as soon as they arrive and can reach the brain and liver in minutes. While this reaction is slightly slowed when there is food in your system, as soon as the mixed contents enters the small intestine, the alcohol grabs first place and is absorbed quickly. It then goes to the liver for processing, and the liver places all its attention on the alcohol. Therefore, the carbohydrates (glucose) and dietary fats are just changed into body fat, waiting to be carried away for permanent fat storage in the body.

* Calories add up fast! Alcohol contains 7 “empty” calories per gram and offers NO nutritional value. 12 ounces of beer is 150 calories and 5 ounces of wine is 100. While you might think drinking liquor is more diet friendly because it has no carbs, it is often mixed with other high calorie drinks. For example, a 3-ounce Cosmopolitan is 165 calories, an 8 ounce margarita is 200 calories and a Long Island ice tea is 400!

* Research shows that if you drink before or during a meal, both your inhibitions and willpower are reduced, meaning you are more likely to overeat and experience “drunk munchies” resulting in the consumption of several hundred extra calories for the day.

* Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it causes loss of water and dehydration. Along with this water loss, you lose important minerals that are vital to fluid balance, chemical reactions and muscle contraction and relaxation.

* While alcohol might help induce sleep, the sleep you get isn’t very deep. This results in increased fatigue and physical stress to the body, slowing down your metabolism and affecting physical performance.

* Alcohol inhibits the breakdown of nutrients, impairs nutrient absorption, reduces blood flow to the muscles, and increases the amount of acid your stomach produces. It reduces testosterone in your blood and increases conversion of testosterone into estrogen, causing increased fat deposits and fluid retention. It also creates liver imbalances that can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), fatty liver and hyperlipidemia (build-up of fats in the bloodstream).

Finally, if you know you’ll be drinking later in the day, don’t be tempted to skip a meal or two to “bank” some calories. You’ll be more likely to overeat later and drinking on an empty stomach enhances the negative effects of alcohol. Remember, moderation is KEY!