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Alcohols Effects On Fat Loss And Muscle Gain

Calories in a Pint of Lager:

  • 1 Pint of Carlsberg: 182Kcal
  • 1 Pint of Stella: 256Kcal
  • 1 Pint of Heineken: 227Kcal
  • 1 Pint of Carling: 187Kcal

What is alcohol?

Alcohol contains seven calories per gram, almost twice the amount of protein and carbohydrates, and only 2 fewer calories than fat. Alcohol calories are also empty and lack the nutrients beneficial for a healthy metabolism and therefore increase our fat storage.

What happens when we drink alcohol?

After drinking alcohol, around 20% is absorbed into the blood stream and the remainder is taken into the blood stream through the small intestine. Alcohol is usually absorbed fairly quick, however these certain factors can influence this rate of absorption:

  • The type of drink e.g champagne is absorbed more quickly than non sparkling drinks.
  • The more food in the stomach the slower the absorption.
  • The higher the alcoholic concentration the quicker the absorption.

Most of the alcohol in the blood stream gets processed in the liver where the alcohol is broken down by the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH, which is contained in the liver cells). ADH then metabolises the alcohol into acetaldehyde. Acetaldehyde is broken down into acetate by another enzyme, aldehyde dehydrogenase. In the final stage, the acetate is further metabolised to where it eventually exits the body as waste products carbon dioxide and water.

When blood levels of alcohol are high, the microsomal ethanol oxidising system starts to break down a small percentage of alcohol using a different set of enzymes. The remaining small percentage of alcohol is lost through sweat, urine and breathing.

What effects does alcohol have on my body?

The most important negative function of alcohol is the suppression of testosterone. Testosterone is a great hormone for burning fat, therefore when it is reduced, fat storage is hastened. Testosterone is a very anabolic hormone which contributes to lean body mass therefore less testosterone means less muscle, and less muscle means less calories being burned.

Hydration of muscle cells is important when trying to increase muscle mass. Alcohol dehydrates these muscle cells and being dehydrated can seriously hinder your performance.

Alcohol also blocks the absorption of many important nutrients which are involved in muscle contraction, relaxation and growth including calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron and potassium.

In summary:

  • Alcohol causes dehydration.
  • Alcohol reduces testosterone levels.
  • Alcohol increases oestrogen levels.
  • Alcohol blocks the absorption of nutrients involved in muscle functions.

Basically, if your'e trying to lose fat your'e got to cut out the alcohol completely. Even small amounts lower Testosterone up to 25% which has potent effects on the metabolism and promotes fat storage.

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