It’s generally accepted that the chances of developing or expanding the size of your “beer belly” (man-speak) or “the fat around your middle” (woman-speak) is greatly increased by the calories in alcohol being stored as fat. However, studies show that less than five percent of these alcohol calories are turned into fat. The main problem when it comes to weight loss is that alcohol reduces the amount of fat your body burns for energy.
One research study took eight men, who were given two drinks of vodka and sugar-free lemonade, separated by thirty minutes. Each drink contained just under 90 calories. Fat metabolism was measured before and after consumption of the drink. For some number of hours after drinking the vodka, whole body lipid oxidation (a measure of how much fat your body is burning) dropped by a massive seventy three percent!
What happens is that a small portion of the alcohol is converted into fat, after which your liver then converts most of the alcohol into acetaldehyde, which is pure alcohol and is toxic to the body. The acetaldehyde is then released into your bloodstream and replaces fat as a source of fuel, thereby slowing the “fat burning” you are looking for when you want to lose weight.
However, if you are following a healthy eating programme and doing lots of regular physical exercise, there is an argument for the odd tipple! Alcohol is, after all, a stress-reliever. It also has some – though sadly not many – nutritional qualities. There is little doubt in my mind that total deprivation of anything, whether food, drink, sex, love, fun, etc, can lead to cravings and ultimately, to bingeing.
So, here are some top things to remember when drinking alcohol on your diet: –