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Empowering Articles


page 1


The Effects of Alcohol on FAt Burning...
By Del Millers, Ph.D.

The first time I visited Australia, I fell in love with the country and more importantly, the people. While traveling around the country I met a group of wonderful mates who became my workout buddies. What astonished me, however, were their drinking habits. These mates drank alcohol like bodybuilders drink water. And of course, one of the first questions I got asked everywhere I went was, ‘how are you able to stay so lean?’ Well, for starters, I very rarely drink alcohol.

What most people don’t realize is that drinking too much has a far more damaging effect than you can predict simply by looking at the number of alcohol calories in a drink. Not only does alcohol reduce the number of fat calories you burn; it can also increase your appetite and lower your testosterone levels for up to 24 hours after you finish drinking.
The infamous "beer belly"

According to conventional wisdom, the infamous "beer belly" is caused by excess alcohol calories being stored as fat. Yet, less than five percent of the alcohol calories you drink are turned into fat. Rather, the main effect of alcohol is to reduce the amount of fat your body burns for energy.

Recent research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that fat metabolism can be reduced by as much as 73% after only two drinks of vodka and lemonade in a one hour time period. What this tells us is that the primary effect of alcohol on the body is not so much how much of it gets stored as fat, but how it shuts down the body’s ability to access your fat stores for energy.

Alcohol in the body is converted into a substance called acetate. In the previous mentioned study blood levels of acetate were 2.5 times higher than normal after only two drinks. And it appears that this sharp rise in blood acetate puts the brakes on fat burning.

Unlike a car that uses primarily one source of fuel, the body is able to draw from a number of different sources (carbohydrates, fats and proteins). To a certain extent, the source of fuel your body uses is dictated by its availability. Consequently, when your blood acetate levels rise, your body simply uses more acetate instead of fat.

Summary of alcohol metabolism after only two drinks
oA small portion of the alcohol is converted into fat.
oYour liver then converts most of the alcohol into acetate.
oThe acetate is then released into your bloodstream, and replaces fat as a source of fuel.Alcohol increases appetite

The combination of alcohol and a high-calorie meal is especially fattening, mainly because alcohol acts as a potent appetizer. A Canadian study shows that an aperitif (an alcoholic drink taken before a meal to increase the appetite) increased calorie intake to a greater extent than a carbohydrate-based drink.

In fact, the more you drink the more you tend to eat. And unfortunately, having just two drinks in an hour will leave your liver struggling to convert the alcohol into acetate, which means that other foods are more easily converted into fat.

Alcohol affects testosterone levels
Not only does alcohol put the brakes on fat burning, it's also one of the most effective ways to slash your testosterone levels. Just a single bout of heavy drinking raises levels of the muscle-wasting hormone cortisol and increases the breakdown of testosterone for up to 24 hours. The damaging effects of alcohol on testosterone are made even worse when you exercise before drinking.

Nutrient deficiency
As previously mentioned, too much alcohol prevent fat burning and reduce your testosterone levels, but it also can affect the body’s ability to break down proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Too much alcohol in the blood can lead to a deficiency in Vitamins B1, B2 & B3, as well as magnesium and zinc. These nutrient deficiencies can eventually cause weakening of the heart muscles, poor skin, arthritis and prostate gland disorder.

The bottom line
While an occasional drink or two every now and then is not going to affect the body negatively, excessive drinking will not only put the brakes on your fat loss efforts, it will also prevent you from building muscle tissue. The bottom line is that alcohol and a leaner, stronger body just doesn’t mix.

— Del Millers, Ph.D. is a fitness and nutrition consultant and author of three books. Visit his website at to sign up for his e-mail nutrition newsletter.

_ CREDITS:Some of the data from this article was taken from one of my favorite websites (I highly recommend it)


Did you know that a whole food supplement can supply your body with an abundance of nutrients on a daily basis to help combat the effects of alcohol? Get more info...

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