Nowadays alcohol is very popular with consumption at mass levels. As a social facilitator and feel good drug it has become well-established part of human culture.
However studies have shown that alcohol has many deleterious effects: lower performance, mental impairment, possibility of addiction, diabetes or liver disease – those seem to be good enough reasons for anybody to give up drinking once and for all. In terms of weight gaining alcohol has an effect which impacts the body composition. In its purest form, ethyl alcohol, with seven calories per gram, is an energy source that bumps up the total energy balance when consumed.
Alcohol also provides what nutritionists often refer to as empty calories – calories without nutrition. And what is worse it is the first fuel which our body uses, combined with proteins, carbohydrates and fats. In that way it postpones the fat-burning process and leads to grater fat storage.
Alcohol provides almost twice as many calories as carbohydrates and proteins
With seven calories per gram alcohol contains twice as many calories as proteins and carbohydrates, and only two calories less than fats, which provide nine per gram. You must remember also that calories in alcohol lack the nutrients beneficial for a healthy metabolism and will therefore fasten the excess body fat gaining.
Alcoholic drinks also contain calories from other sources. Whine and beer are rich in carbohydrates for example, while some cocktails contain fats. This is an addition to the overall caloric intake. Carbohydrates release insulin, which can fasten fat storage, while fats are directly stored in the fat reserves of our body.
Alcohol can damage the stomach, liver and kidneys
When taken to excess it can have an irritating effect on the lining of the stomach and gradually weaken the liver and kidneys. This can lead to some serious health problems. Any damage done to the stomach will lessen the rate and efficiency of the food digestion. And the liver, which processes toxins and breaks down fats for energy is crucial for maintaining a healthy body composition.
Alcohol lowers testosterone levels
When alcohol is consumed, it decreases testosterone which contributes for the fat burning process, and as an anabolic hormone for the gaining of lean muscle mass. Lower testosterone levels result in lower muscle gain and less muscle means lower metabolic rate, which will decrease the process of fat loss.
Alcohol increases appetite
According to many researches alcohol can increase appetite, thus making us to crave for more food. This means that it increases the possibility of much “bad” food to be consumed. Highly caloric alcohol combined with large fatty meal is not something you want for your weight loss and for your health.
So maintaining a reasonable health and enjoying few drinks once in a while would not be a problem. But for those of you who want to lose weight or increase athletic skills, the best advice is to totally abstain until weight loss and improved performance are achieved.