Alcohol and Training



Some of the earliest records of alcoholic beverages are found in Egypt around 4,000 B.C. The Egyptians credited the gods for the invention beer and wine, and considered it a necessity of life and brewed daily in homes. Much like our staples of diet today, beer, and wine were considered as important if not more so than bread and meat.

Of course today we know a lot more about alcohol and its effects, in this I article I will present some information and details about alcohol. We will look at concerns, how it is processed, what different alcoholic beverages contain and more.

Alcohol's Calories, and Body Fat

Since its first days alcohol has been an integral part of our culture, or at least most cultures. From a sedating effect to a courage imbibing effect - the reasons for drinking are numerous and myriad. We are also well aware of alcohol's dark side, its addictive qualities, performance reducing effects, mental impairment, and a number of health related issues like diabetes, cirrhosis of the liver just to name a few. Also drinking and the operating of motor vehicles are responsible for a large number of deaths every year, many of these reasons are good reasons not to abuse alcohol.

One of the effects that alcohol has, and is not widely discussed, is its effect on body composition.

Basically, alcohol supplies seven calories per gram. Simply put, this means that alcohol supplies energy, adding to the body's energy balance whenever it is consumed.

The calories that alcohol supplies, however, are considered empty calories, unlike the more substantial calories of complex carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Calories from alcohol are essentially calories without any nutritional benefit whatsoever. Not only that, its calories is actually consumed first when combined with other macronutrients like proteins carbohydrates and fats. This means a delaying or postponing of the fat-burning process that could potentially mean more fat storage.

Dr. Atkins recommends against alcohol consumption on the Atkins diet because whenever alcohol is consumed it is the first fuel to be burned. While this is happening your body will not burn fat. Alcohol does not store as glycogen and you immediately return to ketosis/lipolysis after the alcohol is used up. He goes further to say that if you must drink alcohol then wine is acceptable. If you do not like wine, then straight liquor like gin, rye or scotch so long as the mix is sugarless, so no juice, or tonic water, just diet soda or seltzer. 

That being said, any form of alcohol can pose problems for those wanting to lose unwanted fat to look their best, the ideal would be to not include alcohol in your diet at all.

The Calories

As discussed before alcohol weighs in at a hefty 7 calories per gram, which is only 2 calories less per gram than fat. We also have to factor in that alcoholic calories will hasten fat storage because they lack any nutrients that are beneficial for a healthy metabolism.

Add to the mix…the mix…many alcoholic beverages are loaded with calories from other sources. In fact some cocktails contain fats.
A 5-ounce glass of wine will typically contain 110 calories, 91 of these are derived from the alcohol itself, the remaining calories come from carbohydrates.

Beers typically contain more carbohydrates, but "Lite" beers are closer to a glass of wine for their carbohydrate content, but still have a higher energy content overall.

Alcohol, Our Inhibitions, And Our Appetite

Drinking loosens up our inhibitions and breaks down willpower and motivation, it becomes progressively worse as you drink more. Maybe sober you wouldn't dream of eating that Big Mac or at least would have the strength to resist the urge, but after several glasses of wine, it suddenly doesn't seem all that bad. In fact alcohol has an appetite stimulating effect as it provides very little nutrition itself.
A Canadian study showed that alcohol consumption prior to a meal compared to a normal carbohydrate drink, increased the total caloric intake for that meal by a significant amount.

The Stomach, Kidneys, Liver And Alcohol

Alcohol can have detrimental effects on the lining of the stomach and esophagus, as well as putting stress on the kidneys and liver. Too much alcohol can lead to some very serious health problems, even death in some cases.
Weakening of the stomach lining effects the rate at which food is digested and this will hurt a healthy metabolism and weight loss.
The liver is responsible for processing toxins and also breaks down fats for fuel and as such is crucial when maintaining a healthy body. Alcohol is at its worst during the liver's detoxification process.

Alcohol And Testosterone

Alcohol interferes with testosterone production and there are a couple of reasons why this is not desirable at all.
First of these reasons is testosterone has a strong fat loss effect, and drinking reduces this. Second, testosterone is an anabolic hormone, which means it plays a large part in the muscle building process. The more lean muscle mass your body carries, the more calories you burn naturally without even exercising, this is known as your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). The body requires energy to support muscle retention and gain, it doesn't need calories to maintain fat.

How The Body Processes Alcohol

About a quarter of the alcohol consumed in a drink is absorbed immediately from the stomach to the blood stream, the rest is absorbed via the small intestine.
The rate at which alcohol is absorbed can be increased based on a few factors.
The amount of food in the stomach, a fuller stomach slows the rate of absorption.
Carbonation – Carbonated drinks are absorbed faster.
Alcohol percentage – The higher the alcohol percentage of the beverage the faster it will be absorbed.

Caloric Content of Common Alcoholic Beverages

Straight Liquor
Tequila, Scotch and Vodka:
* Serving size: 1.5 oz
* Calories: 115
* Serving size: 100ml
* Calories: 220
* Serving size: 100ml
* Calories: 220
* Serving size: 100ml
* Calories: 220
* Serving size: 100ml
* Calories: 220
* Volume: 3% - 5%
* Serving size: 12 oz
* Calories: 150
* Volume: 3% - 5%
* Serving size: 12 oz
* Calories: 100
Regular wines:
* Volume: 10% - 14%
* Serving size: 4 oz
* Calories: 85
Sweet white wine:
* Volume: 10% - 14%
* Serving size: 4 oz
* Calories: 100
Light wines:
* Volume: 6% - 10%
* Serving size: 5 oz
* Calories: 65
* Serving size: 100ml
* Calories: 126
* Volume: 19%
* Serving size: 4 oz
* Calories: 158
* Volume: 19%
* Serving size: 3 oz
* Calories: 125
Wine coolers:
* Volume: 3.5% - 6%
* Serving size: 12 oz
* Calories: 220

Back To Articles Gallery

Fitness Survey