Alcohol has very much become part of our tradition. It is something people turn to when celebrating and especially when going on holiday. So is this a bad thing? And will alcohol greatly impact all the hard work done in the gym? The main documented impacts of alcohol are mental impairment, possible addiction, diabetes and liver disease, however the affects alcohol has on ones body composition is rarely advertised.
In its absolute purest form, ethyl, alcohol is 7 calories per gram and provides a huge amount of energy do to the increase in blood sugar and insulin spike. Unlike our conventional macronutrients, carbs, proteins and fats, alcohol supply us with no nutrition; they are ‘empty calories’. Alcohol is the first energy to be used, so, when merged with our other macronutrients, it therefore delays our fat burning and thus contributes to a greater fat storage. The calories in alcohol lack the nutrients, which are beneficial for a strong, healthy metabolism and therefore accelerate fat storage. One of the worst parts about drinking alcohol, especially in excess, is that when you stop and your insulin level drops your body will crave a sugar rush and the likelihood of giving into that temptation and eating something unhealthy (fast food) is much higher; Alcohol has an appetite stimulating effect.
The above information isn’t there to stop you from letting loose and enjoying yourself while away. We all like to have a drink every now and then, but it is important to understand what we are putting into our bodies and the affect that these substances have on us. At RSF we advise our clients to try and stick to red wine when having a drink with their meal. Keeping away from cocktails is a wise choice as they are usually full of sugary juices and syrups. If you don’t like wine then having a spirit is fine, either on its own, or with a sugar free mixer like tonic water. Indulgence is never a bad thing; we should indulge every now and then to stay sane. However, the problem arises when one over indulges, especially on a regular basis and then loses track of all the hard work and energy put in.