Does alcohol make you fat? Will going out for a few drinks with friends damage your weight loss progress? If you’re not sure whether alcohol makes you fat then check out these points – you might be surprised!
Alcohol WILL make you fat
I’m sorry to say it but alcohol will make you fat. I know many of you were hoping I would say that it wouldn’t but I have to be honest with you.
Here is some good news about alcohol and fat calories: A very small percentage of the alcohol calories you drink are turned into fat. It’s in the single digits. But the problem with alcohol and it’s calories is that when consumed it reduces the amount of fat that your body can burn off for energy.
Here is a super quick lesson about the body and burning body fat. Your body wants to burn body fat for energy. Especially when at rest. When you workout it wants to use carbohydrates and glycogen (stored carbohydrates) for energy to fuel it through those workouts. But when the activity stops your body wants to burn fat. It wants to burn it when you’re watching TV, reading a book, cooking dinner, brushing your teeth, and even sleeping. But the lifestyle of the person will dictate how much, if any fat is being burned for energy.
Things that can prevent the body from burning body fat as energy are skipping breakfast, low-calorie diets, not enough sleep or rest, skipping meals, and drinking too much alcohol.
Why does this happen? It comes down to a substance called acetate. Acetate levels rise sharply after alcohol is consumed. This substance pretty much tells the body to STOP burning body fat ASAP. And yet another problem is the body starts making another substance called acetyl CoA. This causes the body to actually start making more body fat.
There are a quite a few reasons as to why alcohol will cause you to gain weight and many of them aren’t as obvious as you might think. I will give a brief explanation of the main ones below.
•Alcohol is a weight loss suppressant and this is the main reason alcohol
will make you fat.
To put it simply, the energy in alcohol is not easily used by the body so it oxidizes it into a form that is easily used. When this happens the other nutrients that need to be oxidized like protein, fats and carbohydrates miss out and get stored in the cells. Thus, alcohol helps you to gain weight by slowing down the whole weight loss process.
•Many alcoholic drinks have added sugar in them which, when mixed with the above processes, makes weight gain a whole lot easier.
•When you go out for a beer or a cocktail with your friends you may want to take watch of how your habits change. You generally order snacks at the club, then head down to the fast food joint on your way to your next bar and then you sleep in until midday because you are too hung over and thus miss your exercise for the day and your first two or three meals. So, in this indirect way, alcohol can impede your weight loss progress.
Another interesting fact about your body and alcohol is that it can only process about .5 to 1 ounce of alcohol per hour. To the body it is a toxic substance. And it is extremely hard for the liver to perform all of it’s regular functions, and even more so when alcohol is added to the mix.
12 ounces of beer has around .6 ounces of alcohol in it. So if you drank 5 beers your body would not be able to burn fat for up to 6 hours. The more you drink the longer you delay the body’s regular fat burning mechanism.
Also remember when you drink alcohol that it is empty calories. You get no nutritional benefit from it. No vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein, omega-3′s, nothing!
So what to do? Well, if you were on a fat loss plan the best thing to do would be to avoid it. But for some people that’s out of the question. So if that’s the case always remember the word ‘moderation’. I’m sure you’ve heard it before with your nutrition and other parts of your life.
Some other tips would be to choose wine or a light beer. And limit your intake to just 1-2 days a week with a maximum drink limit of 2. Drinking everyday on a fat loss plan is not a fat loss plan at all.
If you are trying to lose weight then I would skip alcohol altogether. If you want to go out with your friends then try drinking something else so that you still feel included.
A night of hitting the town and heavy drinking will generally slow down your weight loss for the next two to four days. Is it worth it?
Your Fitness and Nutrition Coach,