Drinking is a prevalent habit in our society, and it’s really hard to avoid it, especially when you are under social pressure.
There is no shortage of excuses to drink alcohol – it might be your friend’s birthday, it might be Monday, or whatever.
Unfortunately, drinking alcohol can also be severely detrimental to your weight loss efforts.
While it might be relatively easy to skip eating fast foods, it’s pretty difficult to prevent someone from filling your cup on occasion.
Should You Be Worried?
Well, to put it simply, drinking and weight loss are enemies.
Alcohol is one of the few things that we consume that has absolutely no nutritional value, and yet packs in a lot of calories.
How Exactly Does Alcohol Affect Your Body?
Well, it is metabolized very differently from the fats, carbohydrates and proteins from the food that you consume.
In normal conditions, when you do not have alcohol in your system, the food that you eat passes through your digestive system stage by stage, getting broken down in the process.
The nutrients from the food are released into your bloodstream at a steady rate.
However, when you consume alcohol, the entire digestive process changes.
What happens is that your body immediately recognizes the alcohol as a toxin, and attempts to dispose of it as soon as possible.
When this alcohol reaches your liver, it places all of its attention on the alcohol.
The liver thus prevents the alcohol from affecting other parts of the body.
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While this means that the alcohol is prevented from affecting major body systems, it also means that the liver couldn’t process the carbs, fats and proteins from your food, because it had all of its attention focused on processing the alcohol.
In this scenario, these nutrients are not processed properly and get stored as body fat instead.
The situation gets even worse when you drink large amounts of alcohol or drink it very quickly.
The liver is not able to handle such a large inflow of alcohol, and so the alcohol makes it way straight to your brain and other vital body systems.
This can cause problems like memory loss and general deterioration of health, which can have severe long-term consequences.(1)
Not only is alcohol detrimental to your weight loss, but it also has several other negative effects:
! Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it absorbs water, which causes dehydration.(2)
With this loss of water from your body, you also lose several vital minerals such as potassium, magnesium and zinc.
These minerals are required for the functioning of several important body functions such as muscle contraction and relaxation and the maintenance of fluid balance in your body.
! Alcohol interferes with your sleep. While it does induce sleep, the sleep that you get is not very deep, and you don’t feel as rested the next morning.(3)
This lack of sleep quality can lead to a feeling of exhaustion throughout the day, which leads to decreased willpower and an increased urge to consume more alcohol and unhealthy foods.
It’s a seriously destructive cycle that you definitely want to avoid.
! Alcohol damages your digestive system. It causes it to generate more digestive acids than normal, thus causing considerable damage over a long period of time.(4)
! Alcohol stimulates your appetite. While it’s loaded with calories, it actually does nothing to make you feel fuller – it actually makes you feel hungrier than you normally would be.(5)
The calories from the alcohol plus the extra calories from overeating leads to an insane calorie overdose – all the result of alcohol consumption.
You should also consider the fact that foods that commonly accompany drinking, such as peanuts, pretzels and chips, make you feel thirstier, making you want to drink even more than you normally would.
It’s a good idea to sip a glass of water while drinking an alcoholic beverage so that the feeling of thirst is suppressed.
! Alcohol causes serious long-term health problems like liver disease, heart problems and stomach ulcers. You are quite literally destroying your body by drinking alcohol.(6)
So Should You Stop Drinking?
This article may just seem like bad news, and it’s totally okay if you are not making big plans to stop drinking altogether.
It’s true that in our society, completely avoiding alcohol is not much of an option.
Well, the solution is to drink in moderation.
By doing that, you are allowing your body to process that alcohol efficiently before it can cause much damage, thus leading to nothing more than temporary intoxication (which is what you want in the first place).
Just resolve to drink for no more than two days a week, and on the days that you do drink, try to lay off all unhealthy items in order to minimize calorie intake.
Remember that there are many drinkers out there who have a great health and physique.
It’s entirely possible to not completely eliminate alcohol and still have a healthy lifestyle.
Researches and references