The Effects of Alcohol: 9 reasons to think twice before consuming

As we get close to the end of the year we are faced with temptations. It seems like every weekend there is a party to attend, samples being handed out at stores, goodies being given to us as gifts, and of course an abundance of alcohol! It is a common misconception that alcohol itself makes a person “fat” because of the calories being consumed. Although alcohol can be detrimental to our gains in the gym, this theory is not entirely true. Lets take a more in depth look at the effect alcohol consumption has on the human body and 9 reasons why it should be avoided!


1)    Calories: Alcohol is high in calories- it contains 7 calories per gram. So to put this in perspective, protein contains 4 calories per gram, carbohydrates 4 calories per gram and the highest in calories is fat at 9 calories per gram. So not only is alcohol high in calories, but it is delivered in a liquid state, which is ingested very quickly.

2)    Inhibitions: Another problem with alcohol is that it lowers inhibitions. People are usually conscious of what they eat, but once a few drinks are consumed the trail mix at the bar starts being over consumed. Then the appetizer tray starts to look very tempting.  After a few “drive bys” on the candy dish and now its “Game on!” This is when the over eating occurs

3)    Fat burning process: Alcohol actually transforms how the body works. 23 grams of alcohol will decrease the lipid oxidation process by 73%. This means the body will no longer burn fat for energy but it will store it instead.

4)    72 hour process: It will take 72 hours for alcohol to leave the system before the body will burn fat again! So if alcohol is consumed Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the liver will be trying to purify the body and the fat burning process will be delayed until Wednesday! 

5)    Hormone levels: Alcohol disrupts hormone levels. It will decrease testosterone (which is what we want to help build muscle) and increase cortisol levels (which is what we DON’T want when we are trying to build muscle).

6)    Protein synthesis: Alcohol decreases protein synthesis in the body by up to 20%. Amino Acids (protein) are the fundamental building blocks for new muscle growth.

7)     Malnutrition: Alcohol will fight its way into the blood stream not allowing nutrients and minerals from the food we consumed to be properly used by the body. The liver will be working overtime to try and rid the body of alcohol instead of dissecting the food coming in and using the nutrients to properly fuel the body. 

8)    Sleep: It is said that alcohol helps us sleep better. This is not true. Alcohol will initially allow one to fall asleep, but it will disrupt the sleep patterns tremendously. When we sleep the body releases growth hormones, which will heal and repair damaged cells; also a process that alcohol will inhibit. What also happens is the sugar from the alcohol will spike in the system causing one to wake up from sleep.

9)    Chronic alcohol abuse can lead to serious health issues such as liver disease, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, cancer (especially of the throat, esophagus, and mouth).


The U.S. Department of Health and Human services recommends that alcohol be consumed in moderation only. Moderation is considered to be two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women. One drink is defined as 5 ounces of wine, 12 ounces of beer, or 1.5 ounces of a distilled spirit (vodka, whiskey, etc.) 


So this holiday season be informed and know the effects that alcohol might have on your fitness endeavor. Now that you have been informed it is up to you to determine if it’s worth it!





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