« Health & Fitness

How Social Drinking Can Destroy Your Diet

by Dan Cash

Looking for a way to decrease your metabolism and muscle mass?  How about gaining some body fat?  The answer is finally here!  Keep drinking those evening cocktails and watch the pounds stay right where they are!

Most people are aware that their choice to have a couple drinks will add calories to their total caloric intake for the day.  You might find yourself thinking, I will just have to do a little more cardio tomorrow, or skip lunch.  This is a game that cannot be won, if played regularly.  Additional calories are only one part of the effect alcohol has on the body.

I like to refer to it as the “triple whammy”.  To explain what I mean, let’s review a little physiology.  Your body uses different sources of fuel for survival and work.  It can break down fatty acids or glucose to usable forms, or use a product called acetate.  Alcohol, once consumed will quickly move to the blood stream, then liver, where it is converted to acetate.  This conversion to acetate is a fast, simple process for your body.  Whether you would like to call your body efficient or lazy, it prefers to use this form of energy, rather than going through the longer chemical process of breaking down fat or sugar.  Keep in mind, the only way to lose fat is to burn it for energy.

Downfall number two:  With alcohol present in your system, release of growth hormone can decrease by up to 70 percent, protein synthesis is impaired and testosterone levels drop.  All of these things have a devastating effect on muscle strength and volume.  Muscle tissue is the furnace for calories, and when compromised, your metabolism suffers.

Finally, as mentioned earlier, total calorie intake can leap much more quickly than you realize.  Depending on your drink of choice, light beer 110 calories or 400 for that yummy mudslide, it doesn’t take long to take in half your required calories for the day. So, think again if you think your 40 minutes on the elliptical will put you back on track! 

Rob Kennedy is with Genesis Fitness and Wellness and can be reached by e-mail at rob@genesisfitwell.com.