Okay yall – this may not be the most popular blog post I’ve done. But I’m about to throw some truth at ya.
Have you ever wondered why you feel like crap after a night of having a few too many drinks? OR WHY DOES ALCOHOL PACK ON THE POUNDS? Million dollar question.
Here’s a simple explanation on why alcohol gets in the way of your weight-loss, fitness performance goals – the process is quite complex, so here are the cliff-notes:
When alcohol enters your system, through many chemical reactions, it’s down into a toxic chemical called Acetaldehyde which is the cause for many of the symptoms associated with alcohol consumption. The body recognizes this toxic chemical compound and moves as quickly as possible to break it down further so that it can leave the body. This means that if you are eating while drinking alcohol, your body is more focused on eliminating the alcohol and less interested in breaking down the food you eat. This can lead to upset stomach and weight gain!
It messes with your blood sugar levels…
Ever wonder why you crave carbs when you’re drinking? When you drink alcohol, it causes a release of insulin which essentially drops blood sugar levels. That is why you get hungry while drinking. Especially if you start drinking before having a meal – which isn’t recommended either.
It prevents nutrient absorption….
While drinking, your body loses the ability to absorb thiamin (vitamin B1), vitamin B12, folic acid, and zinc. You also use a ton of magnesium to clear the alcohol from your system. Alcohol unfortunately weakens your immune system as a result.
It’s stored as fat….
Alcohol has no nutritional value. It is an empty form of energy that can’t be stored in “your reserves,” also known as glycogen stores. Your liver and your muscles hold energy reserves – known to most people as “water weight.” Explaining glycogen is definitely a topic for another post but let’s just say that alcohol isn’t helpful in that department. If you add on mixers like coke, juice, and simple syrup – you are getting way more calories than you truly signed up for.
It bogs you down….
The effects of drinking alcohol can last for a couple of days. It takes time for it to completely leave your system. It can be found in your tissues, muscles, etc. It also causes dehydration. Which causes headaches/hangovers.
Moral of the Story
I’m not going to tell you how to manage alcohol. That’s not the purpose of this post. But, I think it can be really helpful to know exactly how the popular social ingredient interacts with your body and why it makes you feel like shit if you’ve had too much. Having all the facts may help you make solid decisions on how much you actually want to drink – or not at all.
Thanks for reading
Zakhari S. Overview: how is alcohol metabolized by the body?. Alcohol Res Health. 2006;29(4):245-254.