When you consume more calories than your body needs, then the excess calories are stored as fat.
Alcohol has a very high energy content, almost twice as many calories as protein and carbohydrates and almost as much as fat. Alcohol is made up of carbohydrates such as fruit from wine, hops with beer and sugar from mixers. The calories from alcohol are known as ‘empty calories’ as they have no nutritional content. The calories from alcohol do not have the nutrients required for metabolism and therefore alcohol consumption promotes fat storage.
The calories you drink from alcohol take priority as fuel in the body over other fuel sources, such as your stored body fat. So when you drink alcohol, your body reduces it’s ability to burn fat until you have burnt off the calories from alcohol first.
The calories found in alcohol are very concentrated, which results in a rapid intake of calories and as alcohol passes through the body quickly; you are often unaware of how many alcoholic drinks and calories you have consumed. The carbohydrates from alcohol cause a spike in blood sugar which causes the pancreas to release insulin to remove the excess sugar from your blood. This excess sugar is then stored directly in your fat cells, therefore resulting in additional body fat storage. It is common for this excess fat to be stored around the stomach area.
Drinking alcohol can easily push you over your calorie limit for the day. This results in the excess calories you consume to be stored as fat.
Men require circa 2,500 calories a day and women need circa 2,000. You need to take on an excess of 3,500 calories over time to store an additional one pound of fat.
If you drink 6 pints of 4% beer a week (the government recommended limit) for a month and you have already consumed your calorific requirement for the month from food and non-alcoholic drinks, then you are looking to store 4,368 alcohol calories as fat (just over 1 pound and 4oz’s of fat) a month.
If you drink 6 small (175ml) glasses of 13% wine each week (the government recommended limit) for a month and you have already consumed your calorific requirement for the month from food and non-alcoholic drinks, then you are looking to store 5,724 alcohol calories as fat (which is about 1 pound and 10 oz’s of fat) a month.
Alcohol will loosen your inhibitions and it also stimulates your desire to eat unhealthier food such as fatty and salty foods. Alcohol can also reduce your motivation to make healthier food choices both during the time you are drinking and the days after alcohol has been consumed. The end result being increased fat storage.
Alcohol reduces the hormone testosterone which is required for fat loss. Lowered testosterone also results in reduced muscle gain, the knock on effect being a lowered metabolic rate (the rate your body burns energy). A lowered metabolic rate means that you body’s ability to burn fat at rest is reduced.
The opposite also applies on the days and weeks when you don’t drink alcohol. An increased metabolic rate improves your body’s ability to burn fat at rest and a higher level of testosterone means your body has an increased ability to build lean muscle as well as burn stored fat.
In summary alcohol promotes fat storage as well as prevents your body from burning stored fat. It also decreases testosterone which reduces your body’s ability to build lean muscle. Lean muscle is metabolically active and is required to burn fat.
If you are looking for strategies to help reduce the amount you drink, then check out www,Drinkaware.co.uk .
If you are able to reduce your alcohol consumption, then you will accelerate your fat loss, as well as increase your testosterone levels which will help you to build fat burning lean muscle.