Contrary to popular belief, alcohol itself will not make you fat, but the process of drinking excess alcohol and the effect that it has on your fat metabolism, which can lead to weight gain.
This is what I mean…
We cannot store alcohol in our cells so we have to burn it up and this is done via the liver, which converts the alcohol into acetate, which is then oxidised to produce carbon dioxide and water – so as you can see there is no process here for fat conversion and storage.
It is this act of ‘burning up’ the alcohol which leads to the suppression of your fat metabolism and it is only after all the alcohol has been oxidised, does the body return to it’s fat burning state, how quickly this returns depends on the volume of alcohol consumed – as a rule of thumb it is usually 1 hour per unit of alcohol consumed, i.e.1 gram of protein = 4 kcals
1 gram of fat = 9 kcals
1 gram of alcohol = 7kcals
1 x lager (pint) = 240-250kcals / 2.3units
1 x white wine (175ml) = 130kcals / 2.3 units
1 x red wine (175ml) = 120kcals / 2.3 units
1 x gin/vodka and tonic (single) = 126kcals / 1 unit
So over the course of your evening out, the amount of drink can easily add up. Couple that with a high calorific 2 to 3 course meal; take away delivery or that pizza; kebab on the way home after last orders or snacks and nibbles and if you repeat this often enough, you will definitely start feeling a little more snug in those jeans, than you did when you first bought them!
However, this does not mean that you can’t drink at all, in fact recent studies have shown that red wine can help with reducing the risk of coronary heart disease and that moderate alcohol consumption through reasons not fully understood, actually improves insulin sensitivity, by lowering blood glucose, as the liver processes the alcohol in your body. Through improved insulin sensitivity, we can maintain better blood glucose levels – which leads to a more favourable environment for fat loss.
But beware, if you are on a fat loss programme, that alcohol does not provide the body with any nutritional value at all and this is what we term ‘empty calories’ – so do you really want to be wasting a third of your daily allowance on these ‘empty calories’ or would you rather nourish the body, so that you give yourself the best chance to achieve your goals sooner rather than later?