- So what is wine doing to my face?
- How does alcohol affect the way you look?
- Does Alcohol Make You Gain Weight?
- How to lose fat while drinking: The anti-beer belly diet
- Minimal alcohol, maximum drunkenness
- Maximal alcohol, minimum damage
- Picking your poison
- The alcohol munchies
- Drink up
- How Alcohol Causes and Affects Weight Gain
- How Alcohol Causes Weight Gain
- How Does Alcohol Affect Weight Loss?
- 1. Alcohol is often “empty” calories
- 2. Alcohol is used as a primary source of fuel
- 3. Alcohol can affect your organs
- 4. Alcohol can contribute to excess belly fat
- 5. Alcohol affects judgment calls… especially with food
- 6. Alcohol and sex hormones
- 7. Alcohol can negatively affect your sleep
- 8. Alcohol affects digestion and nutrient uptake
- Related posts:
So what is wine doing to my face?
“Alcohol is basically sugar, only with 50pc more calories. A gram of fat has nine kilocalories, carbohydrates have four and a half and alcohol seven. We see a speeded up version of the ageing effect of this with diabetes. Sugar causes glycosylation, ageing cells and tissues through higher levels of insulin, changes in the DNA and tissue oxidisation. This impacts upon cells in a multitude of negative ways: causing free radical damage, reducing cell proliferation and collagen production, slowing everything down.
“Alcohol is also a diuretic: it dehydrates you, skin included. You absorb nutrients less successfully and crave salt. In women it changes hormone levels, creating higher levels of testosterone, leading to things such as spots and the taking on of a masculine guise, with a diminished waist, barrel-like middle, bloated moonface, skinny legs, and hair loss (all of which increases with the menopause as it is).”
Wine is especially ageing, being our great, socially sanctioned sugar hit. “People will ‘healthily’ reject chocolate and cake but happily gorge on wine,” Prager says. And then, of course, drink so often proves the gateway to other ageing behaviours: smoking, eating junk food, lack of sleep and other addictions.
I myself received evidence of the positive effects of renouncing the bottle back in the autumn, when an exploding appendix meant that I was forced to renounce drink for a month. I may have had a brush with death but I have never looked more youthful. My skin positively bloomed.
The moment I was back on the mother’s ruin, the panda eyes and the bloating returned, as others have found in the wake of their January detoxes (“detox” being that great middle-class euphemism for abstinence from functional alcoholism).
We all know the Booze Face when we see it. Indeed, many of us see it in the mirror. The complexion is grey, dulled, parched, yet prone to spottiness. Skin may be hollowed and shrunken about the eyes and cheekbones, but bloated and overblown as a whole (not least where some women renounce food to stay slender while carousing).
Many drinkers develop a red and thread-veined nose. Jowls sag and under-eyes blacken, to which I would add: cavernous pores in the wake of sleeping in slap.
The good doctor can help to rectify this ravaged appearance with various treatments. He gives his clients Botox to firm up the drinker’s drooping jawline, hyaluronic acid-based dermal fillers to pad out caverns around the cheeks and eyes (guided by the lacerating images produced by his 3D camera) and lasers to zap those broken little veins.
He also claims puffiness and dark circles respond well to radio frequency (the application of superficial micro waves into the dermis to stimulate collagen).
But the treatment the (drinking) beauty editors want is his new Illuminator Facial: a combination of a mild peel, electrical pulses and mask. And he urges us not to forget skincare and make-up. (As if we boozers ever could.)
However, to achieve lasting — subsequently unsabotaged — results, one must also renounce or, at least, severely limit, the bottle; something that we prove extremely reluctant to do. As with radical changes in diet and the renunciation of smoking, one will see a difference.
“Look at rock stars,” Prager says. “Many of them look better than they did 25 years ago. They either died of their excesses, or went to AA and macrobiotic to rectify the damage.”
Vicki Edgson, the nutritionist behind the celebrity world’s new Bible, Honestly Healthy, concurs: “Alcohol consumption in women is higher than it ever has been and, whilst we are prepared to spend huge sums on other fixes, it seems strange that many choose to ignore the abundant research that links alcohol with premature ageing.
“This is inevitable, as the liver becomes overworked in its attempts to break alcohol down, leading to dehydration, hormone disruption and cross-linkage in the skin itself, due to the sugars that alcohol contains. Broken veins, excessive wrinkles and general dryness are all attributable, whilst nutrient absorption is inhibited.
“You wouldn’t catch Gwyneth Paltrow with a glass of wine in her hand — more like a supercharged green smoothie — and just look at her skin. Vodka is cleaner, and far lower in sugar, while white wine and champagne are the worst.”
Edgson advocates a regime rich in avocados, chia seeds, pomegranate, cucumber, olives, oats, sprouted beans and seeds, coconut water, blueberries and salmon.
Ultimately, however, if we aim to turn our backs on the symptoms, we must address our relationship with the cause.
While we may lament our addled looks, are we ready to wean ourselves off our collective dependency? To lose the face, are we ready to renounce the prop and the pleasure that is the habit?
“People, women, seem to feel they need alcohol in a way that makes it worth the sacrifice,” Prager says.
“Most patients would panic and refuse treatment if they didn’t think they could have that evening’s glass of wine. Only it never is one glass.”
How does alcohol affect the way you look?
Most of us are conscious of how we look. What many people don’t realise is that drinking alcohol in excess can have a negative impact on our appearance. Sometimes, alcohol misuse can affect your short-term appearance. It’s even possible for some people to develop conditions which may permanently change how they look.
Alcohol is fattening and 2 double gin and tonics equals one hamburger!
Alcohol also lowers your blood sugar, making you feel hungry, so you may drink or eat more than usual. Alcohol also dehydrates your body generally, including the skin – your body’s largest organ. This happens every time you drink.
Drinking too much is also thought to deprive the skin of vital vitamins and nutrients. Over time, drinking heavily can have other, more permanent, detrimental effects on your skin. Rosacea, a skin disorder that starts with a tendency to blush and flush easily and can eventually lead to facial disfigurement, is linked to alcohol.
High alcohol consumption is a risk factor for psoriasis. The distribution of psoriasis has been observed to be particularly prominent on the fingers and hands of heavy drinkers. People who have psoriasis and drink more than 80g of alcohol per week have been found to have more severe treatment-resistant psoriasis. Patients with psoriasis and high alcohol intake are also more likely to suffer from depression.
Blood Shot Eyes. This happens when tiny blood vessels on the surface of the eye become dilated and inflamed.
Acne. This skin condition may be aggravated by depriving your skin of necessary vitamins and nutrients from alcohol misuse. If untreated, this can lead to facial scaring.
Facial redness. One of the earliest signs of alcohol abuse is a persistently red face due to enlarged blood vessels. This appears because regulation of vascular control in the brain fails with sustained alcohol intake. Transient flushing is also a common side effect of alcohol, particularly in heavy drinkers. It is due to acetaldehyde, the main breakdown product of alcohol. Acetaldehyde is thought to cause flushing by stimulating release of histamine.
When the alcoholic gets a lot of alcohol in their brain tissue following heavy drinking, something different occurs. A small part of the acetaldehyde goes to the brain, where it interacts with a substance called dopamine to form THIQ. Once the THIQ is formed, it does not go away, even if the alcoholic stops drinking. It is there for life. How does the alcoholic recover from this chemical imbalance? They have to stop drinking. It’s alcohol that triggers off the compulsion. Don’t take the first drink and you are free from the bondage of alcohol. If it was as simple as not taking the first drink, everyone would be sober. There is a lot of work involved in keeping the alcoholic away from that first drink.
The THIQ that has attached itself to the Dopamine Neurotransmitter becomes dormant when drinking alcohol ceases. However, it does not go away but, like a dormant volcano, lies there waiting for something to trigger it off and cause the compulsive drinking to start again. AA has a saying: ‘One drink is too many and a hundred is not enough.’ The wisdom of this saying cannot be denied. Trying to control your drinking after a few drinks is like trying to control diarrhea!
Stomach and Facial Bloating. Alcohol can also cause your face to look bloated and puffy. Alcohol can cause gas to form in your digestive system and when this becomes trapped, pressure builds up in your stomach causing bloating and even pain. Then there is cellulite and many people believe the toxins in alcohol contribute to its build-up.
Spider Veins. Spider veins are given that name because of their appearance. Blood vessels (the spider legs) radiate out in all directions from a central blood vessel (its body). Like other blood vessels, spider veins blanch when pressure is applied. They are mostly frequently found on the face, the V of the neck, chest, arms, hands and abdomen. Large number of spider veins is associated with liver disease due to elevated estrogen levels.
Jaundice. The skin and sciera of the eyes often turn yellow in patients with alcoholic liver disease. Skin darkening around the eyes, mouth and on the legs may be associated with chronic liver disease.
Generalised skin itching (pruritus) may occur due to the build-up of poorly metabolised substances that stimulate nerve endings in the skin.
Skin Cancer. Along with increasing the risk of liver, pancreatic and breast cancer, alcohol increases the risk of skin cancer. Alcohol is also associated with an increased risk of oral cancer. Alcohol suppresses the immune system and impairs adequate nutrition, reducing the body’s natural defence against skin cancer. Its main metabolite, acetaldehyde, is a carcinogen (cancer causing chemical). Acetaldehyde produces reactive free radicals and damages DNA.
Nutritional deficiency can develop when alcohol replaces normal food in the diet and the digestive tract and liver do not digest and process food the way they should resulting in malabsorption. With little calorie or protein intake, the skin becomes dry and loses elasticity. Vitamins are essential to maintain healthy looking skin:
- Vitamin A deficiency results in dry skin and rough follicles on the skin
- Vitamin B1 (thiamine) deficiency results in waxy skin and a red thickened tongue
- Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) deficiency presents with cracked corners of the mouth, an inflamed tongue and a rash on the face that resembles seborrheic dermatitis.
- Pellagra is a deficiency of niacin (vitamin B3) and presents with diarrhea, dementia and dermatitis on sun-exposed areas.
- Vitamin C deficiency results in swollen gums
- Zinc deficiency causes a condition that looks like dermatitis around the mouth, hands, feet and anus.
Unpleasant Body Odor. People suffering hangovers smell like stale alcohol as the liver processes most of the alcohol you drink but some of it leaves the body straight through your breath, sweat and urine.
How does alcohol affect your sleep?
Sleep is important for our health and well-being, in fact, we can’t live without it. Lack of sleep or poor sleep can affect your health and quality of life, causing fatigue, poor concentration and memory, mood disturbances, impaired judgement and reaction time and poor physical coordination. Ultimately, you are less productive and more prone to accidents. Alcohol interferes with the normal sleep process, so you feel much less rested than you normally would.
Exhaustion and fatigue. While it may help you fall asleep, when you drink a lot of alcohol close to bedtime, you can reduce and change the sleep stages which are necessary for good health.
Rapid-eye-movement sleep state or REM, is either reduced or you may miss out on it completely. Typically, you have six to seven cycles of REM sleep during the night, which should leave you feeling refreshed. If you have been drinking, you will most likely have only one or two cycles so you can wake up feeling exhausted.
Then there is the deep sleep state, which is when the body and mind restores itself, is also interfered with when you drink alcohol. As the alcohol starts to wear off, your body can come out of deep sleep and back into REM sleep, which is much easier to wake from. That’s why you often wake up just after a few hours of sleep, when you have been drinking.
Dehydration. If you have been drinking a lot, you may have to get up during the night to go to the toilet. Alcohol is a diuretic so it encourages the body to lose extra fluid, by going to the toilet more often and by increasing the amount your body sweats.
Snoring. Drinking alcohol can make you snore loudly. It relaxes the muscles in your body including the tissue in your throat, mouth and nose, which can stop air flowing smoothly and is more likely to vibrate, causing you to snore. If you are drinking alcohol, try to avoid it too close to bedtime. Give your body time to process the alcohol you had before you try to go to sleep. On average, it takes an hour for your body to process one standard drink, but this can vary widely from person to person.
LivaTone Plus is a more powerful formula that can support liver function when there are more chronic liver problems. LivaTone Plus combines the proven doses of St Mary’s Thistle with the benefits of Selenium. It also contains all the B vitamins and the amino acid Taurine as well as the antioxidant vitamins C and E. LivaTone Plus is designed to support the step one and two detoxification pathways in the liver.
Additional NAC boosts antioxidant and detoxification pathways.
Glutamine can help support efficient brain function along with Tyrosine Mood Food as Tyrosine is necessary for the manufacture of dopamine and noradrenaline, which are required for concentration, alertness, memory and a happy stable mood.
Magnesium is known as The Great Relaxer and may assist in the reduction of stress, nervous tension, anxiety and sleeplessness.
Glicemic Balance Capsules aid in the metabolism of carbohydrates and supports insulin function and is helpful in curbing sugar and carbohydrate cravings when you are detoxing from alcohol.
The above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or prevent any disease.
Does Alcohol Make You Gain Weight?
Q: Does alcohol make you gain weight? Can you drink and still lose weight if you work out on a regular basis?
A: Yes, you can drink alcohol and lose weight-as long as you’re smart about it. When looking at the whether you’ll be able to lose weight and still drink your favorite wine there are two things you need to consider: calories in alcohol and alcohol content.
Calories in alcohol
Forget about the calories in wine or your favorite beer for a second, because for most people, the calories in the mixers of their favorite cocktails pose a far greater barrier to weight loss than the actual alcohol. Just 4oz of some daiquiri or margarita mixes can contain upwards of 35 grams of sugar-that’s 7 teaspoons of sugar! (Just one reason you should make your own homemade grown-up daiquiris instead.) Plus, these drink mixes have more than double the amount of calories than the shot of rum or tequila included in the drink (that is, if you’re only served half a cup of mixer). What’s worse, the calories from mixers are the worst kinds of calories, simple and refined sugars. When they’re combined with how alcohol affects metabolism, it gets even worse.
Alcohol content in drinks
One myth about alcohol is that it will make you fat. (Will vodka make you fat? What about beer? Your favorite red wine?) But the truth is, it’s the combination of alcohol and sugars found in mixers (or the bar food often consumed with alcohol) that causes weight gain problems. Alcohol does contain calories, but it’s safe to assume that no one gains a lot of weight by throwing back shots of straight vodka. Instead, it is the metabolic priority that your body places on alcohol (over carbohydrates and fats) that causes the damage. Your body wants to process alcohol before anything else, which has been shown to create a metabolic environment that is almost the opposite of the environment your body creates following exercise-one of high circulating levels of fat and inhibited fat burning.
While this may sound all doom and gloom, there are benefits of alcohol. Moderate alcohol consumption (1 drink per day for women) increases your HDL (good) cholesterol, and studies show that people who have a couple drinks each week live longer. So, here’s how can drinking alcohol and lose weight work together.
When you drink, know your alcohol serving size. A glass of wine is not a glass filled to the brim, but 5oz (red wine glasses can hold 12-14oz when filled).
Minimize the calories from mixers. Make margaritas with real lime juice, use diet tonic water, or even the naturally calorie-free club soda instead of regular tonic water and other high-calorie carbonated drinks. (These skinny margaritas will satisfy your craving, but still keep your weight loss program in check.)
If you are aggressively pursuing a weight loss goal, corral any drinks to your splurge meals to reduce their impact on your overall fat burning.
Dr. Mike Roussell, PhD, is a nutritional consultant known for his evidence-based approach that transforms complex nutritional concepts into practical nutritional habits and strategies for his clientele, which includes professional athletes, executives, food companies, and top fitness facilities. Dr. Mike’s work can often be found on newsstands, leading fitness websites, and at your local bookstore. He is the author of Dr. Mike’s 7 Step Weight Loss Plan and the upcoming 6 Pillars of Nutrition.
Connect with Dr. Mike to get more simple diet and nutrition tips by following @mikeroussell on Twitter or becoming a fan of his Facebook page .
- By Mike Roussell, PhD
How to lose fat while drinking: The anti-beer belly diet
Alcohol is party fuel. It doesn’t just improve parties. It creates them.
Minor problem: alcohol is toxic. Now, you could just be reasonable and moderate and yada yada, but this isn’t that kind of article. Screw moderation. You want to get hammered without ruining your physique. I understand.
Even if you think your drinking style falls under the ‘moderate drinking’ category, you’re probably wrong. In science, moderate drinking is commonly defined as 2 drinks per day as a man or just 1 as a woman. Anything over that, especially in a time span of only a few hours, is binge drinking. Your body has a completely different reaction to 14 drinks in one evening compared to 2 drinks every day.
The good news is that you can lose fat while binge drinking and you can minimize the damage to your training. To achieve this, we need to understand alcohol’s pharmacology. By the way, did you know that the ancient Greek word ‘pharmakon’ originally meant poison but in Modern Greek now means drug?
Let’s look at how to fit alcohol into your macros.
When you drink alcohol, it is absorbed from your stomach and intestines. It then passes through your liver on its way to the blood. When it’s in your circulation, it keeps passing through your liver and during every passing your liver breaks down some of the alcohol into acetaldehyde and from there into acetate. It’s these 2 metabolites, especially acetaldehyde, that make alcohol toxic.
As acetate enters your blood, fat burning is majorly suppressed throughout the body, not just in your liver. As a result, most of the fatty acids in your blood are stored. Acetate can also be converted to fat itself, if it’s not used acutely as energy source. This is in part why alcohol has such a high potential to make you fat.
- Scientific binge drinking tip #1: Minimize fat intake on the day you go drinking.
The full metabolism of alcohol. If you don’t know what the abbreviations mean, you don’t have to pretend to care.
But wait, can’t the body simply convert carbs or protein to fat? No, it actually can’t do this effectively unless you are in energy surplus. Protein and especially carbs only considerably increase fat storage indirectly. They mainly increase the rate at which the fat you consume is stored instead of used as fuel. But since you’re not consuming much fat, there’s nothing to store. The final metabolite of alcohol, acetate, also won’t be preferentially used for de novo lipogenesis AKA fat storage. So as long as you’re not in energy surplus and you keep your fat intake low, you won’t store fat even if you’re highly intoxicated and you can actually still lose fat.
There’s little point in trying to bulk when you’re intoxicated anyway. Alcohol directly decreases muscle protein synthesis and anabolic gene expression. Combined with a high likelihood of fat storage, bulking and alcohol are a match made in heaven Vegas where you got wasted and ended up marrying a stripper.
- Scientific binge drinking tip #2: Always cut when consuming alcohol, never bulk.
Alcohol reduces how much muscle you’ll grow after a workout, so it’s best to plan your workouts away from the binge drinking. Since many people drink at night and the best time to work out for these people is often in the evening, it’s a good idea to train earlier on drinking days. Ideally, plan your drinking on a rest day. Even if this means you’re hung-over for your next workout, that’s probably better than drinking after the workout. In contrast to how you may feel, being hung-over doesn’t affect neuromuscular performance much. Many people report surprisingly good strength and good workouts the day after drinking. Don’t like training when hung-over? You reap what you sow, son.
- Scientific binge drinking tip #3: Maximize the time between weight training and drinking alcohol. Drink on rest days. It’s better to train hung-over than to drink after your workouts.
You now know how alcohol interacts with other nutrients and how you can adjust your diet to cut fat while binge drinking. Now that you know what to eat, we’ll look at when to eat it.
Minimal alcohol, maximum drunkenness
Optimal nutrient timing on alcohol depends on your goal. Let’s first assume you simply drink alcohol because you like being drunk. We’ll consider the alternative afterwards.
To get drunk with the most bang for your buck, you want all of the alcohol you drink to reach your blood. That way, you need the least amount of drinks to get drunk. This saves money and calories (more on that later) and it spares your body from having to deal with an excessive amount of alcohol.
Your liver can break down only about 10 grams of alcohol per hour, the equivalent of one drink, regardless of the amount that’s in your blood. Absorption from the digestive tract happens much faster. If you drink alcohol faster than your liver can metabolize it, the alcohol accumulates in your blood. This is shown in the graph below for 1 to 4 drinks.
If you drink 1 drink per hour, you get the small spike of the lowest curve every hour. That won’t make you drunk, at least not if you can hold your liquor. You want to be on the upper curve, so it’s more efficient to take a few shots than to sip on beer the entire evening.
Food has the same effect as sipping on your drinks. A full stomach slows the rate at which alcohol is absorbed into the blood . This again slows down the accumulation of alcohol in your blood and makes you need more drinks to get drunk.
- Scientific binge drinking tip #4: To get drunk with the least amount of alcohol, chuck down all your drinks at once on an empty stomach.
Now let’s consider the alternative to drinking alcohol purely to get drunk: You feel forced to drink a lot of alcohol by the social pressure of your friends. Say what you want, but anyone with more emotional intelligence than a goldfish realizes social pressure is at least part of the reason most people drink.
I could tell you to man up – men actually have more of the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase than women – but I’m a consultant, not your father. Besides, a strong personality takes time to develop. Silverback gorillas don’t grow silver hairs on their back until they mature and only then can they lead instead of follow.
In this scenario you can’t predict how much you’re going to drink. Once alcohol has cut your social brakes and people start shoving drinks in your hand, you probably won’t even be able to keep count. So, you want to minimize the effect of each drink so that the amount of alcohol you end up drinking does minimal damage.
Maximal alcohol, minimum damage
To minimize the damage from a night out, you want to do the opposite of what you do when you want to get drunk. You want to spread your alcohol consumption over time as much as possible.
- Scientific binge drinking tip #5: To minimize the damage from an indeterminate amount of alcohol, space your drinks over time as much as possible.
You also want to binge on protein and carbs before you go binge drinking. The food counteracts alcohol’s effects in several ways.
- A full stomach slows down the rate at which alcohol is absorbed into the blood. Absorption from the stomach is much slower than absorption from the intestines. This prevents accumulation in the blood.
- A portion of the alcohol is already broken down in the digestive tract by the digestive enzymes of the food.
- The decreased rate of gastric emptying gives your liver more time to break down the alcohol before it ever enters your blood (called first pass hepatic metabolism). As the alcohol drip feeds to your liver, your liver enzymes don’t become fully saturated. They can deal with the flow of alcohol without becoming overwhelmed.
- Food stimulates blood flow to the liver and the production of liver enzymes that also help break down alcohol (alcohol dehydrogenase & cytochrome P450IIE1).
All of this decreases the absorption rate and increases the elimination rate of alcohol. The result is that the percentage of bioavailable alcohol that actually reaches your blood drops to around 70% for most meals. High protein meals are particularly effective at stimulating the liver and delaying gastric emptying. They can reduce alcohol’s bioavailability to under 40% .
A good meal can thus make you consume over twice the amount of alcohol otherwise needed for the same level of intoxication. A meal basically cuts the damage from alcohol in half. The best meal is something that stimulates your liver and delays gastric emptying. That means protein, fiber and a high volume of food. Casein, egg white, fiber supplements and vegetables are therefore best.
For maximum damage control, the Japanese discovered a nifty ‘alcohol buffer’ supplement: curcumin powder. In their drinking culture it’s typical to have a small drink with 30 mg of this stuff before a night of drinking. Science approves, as it can actually reduce the ‘toxic’ acetaldehyde concentration in your blood during drinking and thereby reduce alcohol’s damage .
Unfortunately, pure curcumin has almost zero bioavailability in humans: in spite of what supplement companies will tell you, virtually none of it actually ends up in your blood. But we can quite easily enhance curcumin’s bioavailability enormously by consuming 20+ mg black pepper extract, piperine, alongside the curcumin. Alternatively, consuming the curcumin in the form of the product Theracurmin also majorly improves how much your body can use of it.
- Scientific binge drinking tip #6: To minimize the damage from an indeterminate amount of alcohol, consume a large meal composed of lots of slowly digesting protein and fiber with bioavailable curcumin supplemented to it before you go drinking.
By the way, the folk wisdom not to mix types of alcohol or not to drink beer after wine are both myths. Neither the types of drink nor the order in which you drink them influences your hangover, only the total blood alcohol concentration does. So feel free to mix-and-match at your pleasure.
Although we can influence how much alcohol reaches the blood, we cannot influence how much is digested. That means the calories in alcohol still count. Let’s look at how to deal with that.
Picking your poison
Alcohol, the actual macronutrient, contains 7.1 calories per gram. Sure it has a high thermic effect which increases the cost of its metabolism by about 20%. That’s large compared to the thermic effect of an overweight individual consuming fat or carbs in isolation. However, it’s about the same metabolic effect as that of mixed meals consisting of whole foods or high protein foods. So it doesn’t make much sense to use net calories for alcohol if you don’t take into account the thermic effect of food for the rest of your diet as well. In practice the metabolic difference is pretty trivial.
Fortunately you can save a ton of calories by drinking only dry wines and spirits, possibly mixed with diet drinks. Spirits and lite beer have about a 100 calories per drink, wine has 125 and beer has 150. They all contain similar amounts of alcohol, protein (none) and fat (none).
If you drink 20 beers on a night out on top of your regular diet, you consume nearly 3000 extra calories. Chucking down 8 shots or so on an empty stomach as per the tips above should get you just as drunk and saves you almost 2200 calories.
Sherry is the least caloric drink with only 75 calories per glass, whereas cocktails can run up to over 500 calories per glass. The table below with data from the US National Institute of Health shows you how many calories are in 1 regular serving of your favorite drinks.
- Scientific binge drinking tip #7: Beer is for amateurs. Pros only drink dry wines and spirits. As a rule of thumb, beer contains 150 calories per drink compared to 125 for wine and 100 for spirits.
Alcohol has a way of making you consume even more calories though. I know I only promised 7 tips, but this one’s on the house.
The alcohol munchies
The 3 regular macronutrients suppress your appetite in proportion to the amount of calories you consume of them. The more you eat of them, the more they fill you up. Alcohol doesn’t do this. In fact, alcohol can even increase your appetite .
Combined with reduced executive control AKA impaired judgment, it is easy to overeat when you’re drunk.
- Scientific binge drinking tip #8: If you’re prone to overeating after a night out, save up some calories during the day and prepare a filling, high protein meal that you can easily eat when you get back home (or wherever you end up, you dog).
You don’t have to be a social recluse to build an awesome physique. Plenty of my non-competing clients regularly drink alcohol and still make great progress. Binge drinking isn’t healthy and it will somewhat compromise the development of your physique, but it makes for great experiences (if you remember them). An optimized diet isn’t just about maximum muscular hypertrophy and fat loss. It should be part of the lifestyle that makes you enjoy life to the fullest. If drinking is part of that for you, use these tips and drink up!
How Alcohol Causes and Affects Weight Gain
How Alcohol Causes Weight Gain
It’s Time To Get Honest…
Alcohol is always a tough topic to discuss, especially when it comes to weight loss and/or gain. From my experience it’s always been one of the biggest challenges for most people looking to lose weight and improve their health, as it plays so many different roles in people’s lives: entertainment, stress relief, nightly ritual, etc.
For many, alcohol often becomes part of a nightly, post-work ritual or something we look forward to for weekend entertainment.
I hear people say all the time…
“Well, I’ve heard/read that a little alcohol can be healthy for you!”
This statement is completely untrue – you DO NOT need alcohol, in any form, to be healthy. It does not contain any secret or special ingredients – and, in my 12+ years of training, I’ve only seen it hamper weight loss and overall health for many of my clients.
The Biggest Misconception About Consuming Alcohol
If you ever say to yourself, “But, I only drink a little at night to help me unwind…”
Drinking in excess doesn’t necessarily mean binge drinking till your completely intoxicated. Rather, it can mean drinking smaller quantities consistently each day/week.
*This consistent consumption is just as bad, if not worse, when it comes to adding excess calories, weight and body fat.
> In this post I’m going to tell you how alcohol promotes weight gain, plus its affects on aging and overall health.
Alcohol is the Epitome of Empty Calories
Super Fact: Did you know that drinking 2 glasses of wine per night adds up to 4,000 extra calories per month, 48,000 extra calories per year!!
Just from this wine consumption alone, that can add a staggering 14 extra pounds of body fat each year!
How alcohol makes you gain weight:
Wine, beer, liquor – really any type of alcohol – when consumed, the body turns it into a substance known as acetate during digestion.
The problem with the acetate is that it’s the first thing your body wants to burn off, to use as energy, when present in the body. In fact, the body will work to burn off the acetate before attempting to burn off any other consumed/stored calories (ie. from proteins, carbs, sugars, etc.) for energy.
So, if you are consistently consuming more food calories than your burning off, and then adding alcohol on top of it, the alcohol will only compound the weight gain.
For example, during a meal, if you consume a cheeseburger, order of fries and 3 beers…then, the body will work to burn off the 3 beers first, and will STORE the calories from the cheeseburger and fries as fat to be used for energy later.
Where Alcohol Calorically Compares to Other Foods:
Pure Alcohol contains 7 calories per gram
**Please, note these are the calories in the alcohol ONLY – this does not include the excess calories and sugar found in the mixers 🙂 ie. sodas, juices, margarita mix, etc.
- Fat contains 9 calories per gram
- Protein contains 4 calories per gram
- Carbohydrates contain 4 calories per gram
Some Real Life Examples:
- 5 ounce glass of wine = 150 calories
- 1.5 ounce shot of vodka = 100 calories
- 12 ounces of light beer = 100 calories
As you can see, alcohol is almost as calorically dense as fat. However, alcohol does not provide any additional nutrients to sustain your body and your energy needs, which is why as you drink you typically need to eat, which, only adds more calories into the equation, thus creating more weight gain.
Additional Ways Alcohol Negatively Affects the Body
- Munchies – most people typically get the munchies while they drink. So, you end up consuming foods rich in either fat, salt or sugar to compliment your drinks. The snacks and foods you consume along with alcohol only compounds the calories and increase the fat storage.
- Chronic Dehydration – alcohol dehydrates the body. This plays a major role in why you have a hangover and how long it takes you to recover from a night of heavy drinking.
- Poor Sleep – alcohol affects everyone in different ways, one of the most common complaints I hear is lack of sleep. Consuming alcohol does greatly affect the quality of sleep for most people. Most people who drink fall asleep quickly, but are very restless and tend to wake up in the middle of night, unable to fall back asleep. This leaves you feeling…
- Feeling Tired/Sluggish – the lack of sleep and dehydration will leave your body and mind feeling absolutely sluggish and with no energy. This can last anywhere from 1 to 4 days depending on how much you drink and how it affects your body. This will give you poor performance at work AND in your workouts!!!
- It’s Toxic – alcohol is a toxin. Plain and simple. It’s the #2 cancer causing carcinogen (cigarettes is #1). Most notably, excessive drinking can lead to a fatty/diseased liver, but it can also make you susceptible to other diseases, such as: heart disease, many different cancers, as well as a world of stomach issues.
- Accelerates Aging Process – consistent drinking does accelerate the aging process in multiple ways, most notably through chronic dehydration, which causes: dry skin, bloating, puffiness, redness and inflammation. Most visibly, consistent alcohol consumption will cause premature wrinkles on your skin.
FAQ – Isn’t Red Wine Healthy???
NO. Sorry to break the news.
The reason that some studies claim that red wine is healthy is due to the polyphenol (antioxidants) and resveratrol content from the grape skins used to make the wine.
HOWEVER – along with the antioxidants and resveratrol in the wine, comes the high calories that cause all of the weight gain and the same health risks as with all alcohol.
If you’re looking for a boost of antioxidants, skip the wine and grab a cup of green tea or try my Paradise Iced Tea recipe!
My Challenge To YOU
If you are a person who enjoys your drinks, I’m not here to spoil your fun or make you feel like you should never have a drink again. I’m just urging you to majorly cut back to only drinking a couple times per month.
If you’re serious about getting results and losing weight, then lets take this a step further – I challenge you to stop all alcohol consumption for 6 weeks.
Since News Years Day is upon us, starting on January 1…this will carry you through mid-February (around February 13th). I guarantee you’ll feel better, sleep better, have more energy, lose weight easier and faster and have more productive workouts.
How Does Alcohol Affect Weight Loss?
1. Alcohol is often “empty” calories
Alcoholic drinks are often referred to as “empty” calories. This means that they provide your body with calories but contain very little nutrients.
There are almost 155 calories in one 12-ounce can of beer, and 125 calories in a 5-ounce glass of red wine. By comparison, a recommended afternoon snack should have between 150 and 200 calories. A night out with several drinks can lead to consuming a few hundred extra calories.
Drinks that have mixers, such as fruit juice or soda, contain even more calories.
2. Alcohol is used as a primary source of fuel
There are also other elements that can cause weight gain outside of calorie content.
When alcohol is consumed, it’s burned first as a fuel source before your body uses anything else. This includes glucose from carbohydrates or lipids from fats.
When your body is using alcohol as a primary source of energy, the excess glucose and lipids end up, unfortunately for us, as adipose tissue, or fat.
3. Alcohol can affect your organs
The primary role of your liver is to act as the “filter” for any foreign substances that enter your body, such as drugs and alcohol. The liver also plays a role in the metabolism of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins.
Excess alcohol consumption can lead to what is known as alcoholic fatty liver.
This condition can damage your liver, affecting the way your body metabolizes and stores carbohydrates and fats.
Changes in the way your body stores energy from food can make it very difficult to lose weight.
4. Alcohol can contribute to excess belly fat
The “beer gut” isn’t just a myth.
Foods high in simple sugars, such as those found in candy, soda, and even beer, are also high in calories. Extra calories end up stored as fat in the body.
Consuming foods and drinks high in sugar can quickly lead to weight gain.
We can’t choose where all that extra weight ends up. But the body tends to accumulate fat in the abdominal area.
5. Alcohol affects judgment calls… especially with food
Even the most die-hard diet fan will have a hard time fighting the urge to dig in when intoxicated.
Alcohol lowers inhibitions and can lead to poor decision-making in the heat of the moment — especially when it comes to food choices.
However, the effects of alcohol surpass even social drinking etiquette.
A recent animal study found that mice given ethanol over a period of three days demonstrated a significant increase in food intake. This study suggests that alcohol can actually trigger hunger signals in the brain, leading to an increased urge to eat more food.
6. Alcohol and sex hormones
It’s long been known that alcohol intake can affect levels of hormones in the body, especially testosterone.
Testosterone is a sex hormone that plays a role in many metabolic processes, including muscle formation and fat burning capabilities.
One study found that low testosterone levels may predict the prevalence of metabolic syndrome in men. Metabolic syndrome is characterized by:
- high cholesterol
- high blood pressure
- high blood sugar levels
- high body mass index
Plus, lower testosterone levels may affect quality of sleep, especially in older men.
7. Alcohol can negatively affect your sleep
A nightcap before bed may sound like a ticket to a good night’s rest but you may want to reconsider.
Research suggests that alcohol can lead to increased periods of wakefulness during sleep cycles.
Sleep deprivation, whether from lack of sleep or impaired sleep, can lead to an imbalance in the hormones related to hunger, satiety, and energy storage.
8. Alcohol affects digestion and nutrient uptake
Your social anxiety isn’t the only thing that alcohol inhibits. Intake of alcoholic beverages can also inhibit proper digestive function.
Alcohol can cause stress on the stomach and the intestines. This leads to decreased digestive secretions and movement of food through the tract.
Digestive secretions are an essential element of healthy digestion. They break down food into the basic macro- and micronutrients that are absorbed and used by the body.
Alcohol intake of all levels can lead to impaired digestion and absorption of these nutrients. This can greatly affect the metabolism of organs that play a role in weight management.