You’ve been diligently working out for weeks but you are not seeing the results you were hoping for. “I’m at the gym every day,” you say to yourself. “Why am I not losing any weight?” When I start training clients, I always insist that they follow a strict nutritional regimen along with workouts, to achieve optimum weight loss results. But sometimes, I discover that people have a glass of wine with their meals, not realizing what a setback it is for their fitness goals. “A glass of wine won’t do any harm, it’s only 90 calories,” I often hear. But it’s not about calories, it’s how calories are digested.
I believe that if you want a toned lean body, you cannot drink any alcohol. Not only wine, beer or champagne metabolize differently in our bodies, they screw with your diet.
Why drinking sabotages your weight loss efforts
1. Alcohol metabolizes differently
When you consume any alcohol, your body prioritizes metabolizing the alcohol over burning fat and carbs. That happens because our liver recognizes alcohol as toxin and the body stops processing nutrients from food you’ve eaten while it takes care of those toxins first. What happens is that your body burns empty alcohol calories for energy while the digestion of nutrient-rich food is put on the back burner. When you consume more calories than you burn, which is what happens when alcohol is part of your meal, your body stores the excess as fat. By the time your body gets around to burning food calories, it might not need the energy and end up storing the extra calories you’ve eaten as fat cells.
2. Drinking makes you hungry.
We all know that we love snacking when we drink, and that’s because booze doesn’t satisfy us the same way food does. Alcohol makes us want to eat more. Studies show that alcohol increases our appetite by suppressing leptin, the hormone that tells our brain to stop eating and negatively effects many other brain chemicals that are involved in appetite suppression. It also makes us lose our inhibitions, making the decision to grab foods we shouldn’t be eating all the more easy.
3. Drinking slows down your muscle recovery.
Weight lifting and hard workouts drain the glycogen stores (carbs stored in the liver and muscles) and leave your muscle tissue in need of repair. When you have that glass of wine with dinner, it will stall your recovery process. According to studies, drinking can displace the carbs, leaving your stores 50 percent lower than normal even eight hours after you drank.
4. Drinking disrupts sleep.
Who would think that one glass of wine can disrupt our precious sleep? In a study of both men and women, researchers found that those who drank alcohol with dinner, decreased their sleep by more than 30 minutes, especially women and particularly in the second part of the night. Researchers also found that disrupting sleep means reducing your human growth hormone output by as much as 70 percent, which is detrimental to muscle building and thus weight loss.
5. Drinking decreases endurance remarkably.
Most people know that alcohol is diuretic, but did you know that drinking irritates your stomach lining. Which can reduce your capacity to absorb nutrients. Looking at this from the scientific point of view, for every gram of alcohol you drink, you discharge 9.5 ounces of urine. And when your body is dehydrated, your endurance suffers.
Yep, so there’s the bad news folks! Am I saying that you can never drink alcohol? No. I’m just saying that you can expect to lose any significant bodyfat or perform at your best while you do. It’s best left for your maintenance phase.