I know many of you really love Beer. We live in Colorado after all. We have the best craft beers in the entire world. Are we supposed to enjoy Beer every…damn…day then?
I know some people do. They usually appear happy with their “Dad Bods” too.
But they also come in to tell me that they want to lose body fat.
One of the recurring obstacles to health that keeps coming up is alcohol…maybe your drink of choice isn’t beer…So we’ll keep this discussion to “alcohol” in general rather than just Beer, Bourbon, or Wine.
I continue to be surprised at the number of people who say that alcohol is their number one obstacle to good health and fitness. I understand that it is part of our culture. Most of us choose to lead highly stressful lives where we burn the candle at both ends. Isn’t it nice to have a drink (or 5) at the end of the day?
Of course it can be addictive but this piece isn’t about alcoholism. However; if you read this and need help, reply and I’m happy to connect you with the experts.
This is going to come back to goals. If your goal really is to lose body fat, you need to limit your consumption or stop drinking entirely. Simple right?
Alcohol is more quickly stored as fat than even excess calories from any of the main macro nutrients (fat, protein, carbohydrate).
Digestion is complex and requires time for the body to process macro nutrients. Alcohol; however is quickly absorbed. According to Brown University Health Promotion, about 20% of alcohol is absorbed directly through the walls of an empty stomach and can reach the brain in about one minute. Most of the remaining 80% is absorbed through the small intestine and then goes directly to the liver, where enzymes break it down.
How alcohol contributes to weight gain is actually 2 fold because (1) it provides a source of quick calories, and (2) because of the liver’s job in processing it; since the liver considers alcohol a toxin, it will go to work on it first, before fat, protein, or carbohydrate…this is bad.
Since the liver’s priority is to detoxify alcohol before processing anything else, drinking slows down the burning of fat, which leads to weight gain. Since the liver’s job is to process alcohol first, drinking can cause low blood sugar because nutrients are not transformed into energy (glucose) for our cells and they would normally be.
So…yes you are definitely limiting calories by choosing that wine or vodka soda over that margarita but when it’s all said and done alcohol is alcohol and it doesn’t matter what your drink of choice is….it will still make you fat and slow your progress.
My advice: If you vocalize a goal of losing weight. Stop drinking…at least for the most part. If you don’t, then clearly you don’t really care that much about your fat loss.
If your nutrition is pretty good and you are close to your ideal weight, drink 2 drinks (at most) about once or twice per week. This shouldn’t slow your progress too much and you can still enjoy a night out with your friends.
I know this one will get lots of replies…mostly excuses. So I’ll leave you with this gem from Coach Dwight:
“Excuses are the nails that built the house of failure!”
See you soon.