I rarely drink alcohol, but if there is a special event I might have 1 or 2, but that is very rare. There are several reasons why I don’t drink, but one of the major reasons is because it doesn’t agree with the lifestyle I love to live. I prefer to provide my body with what it needs to improve my health, rather than alcohol that can have the opposite effect. Just because I don’t drink alcohol doesn’t mean that I don’t have a social life. Over the years, the people closest to me have accepted my healthy lifestyle and they don’t bug me about it. If you find yourself in the situation where people are questioning your choices, you will just need to explain to them why you are doing this and why it is important to you. In my F.I.T. programs I give you access to my motivational videos that will teach you why you can’t please them all, and why you need to put yourself first!
Alcohol is not a nutrient
A nutrient is a ‘substance that provides nourishment essential for the maintenance of life and for growth’, and by this definition there are six classes of nutrients: carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins, minerals and water. As you can see, alcohol is not one of them. Of these six, only the three macronutrients (carbs, protein and fat) provide calories. So does alcohol, despite not being a nutrient.
- Protein: 4 kcal/gram
- Carbohydrates: 4 kcal/gram
- Fats: 9 kcal/gram
- Alcohol: 7 kcal/gram
So, when you drink alcohol you deprive your body of nutrients, whilst still getting calories.
Alcohol and your health
There are some health benefits associated with alcohol, but don’t use this as an excuse to binge drink. Remember, the poison is in the dose! Some of the health benefits include reduced risk of heart attack, increased levels of HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol) and reducing the risk of blood clots. Alcohol consumption has also been associated with improved protection against dementia, improved digestion and increased appetite. There is even some evidence that a small amount of alcohol can improve insulin sensitivity.
On the other hand, the more you drink, and the more often you drink, the more at risk you are to develop these diseases. Additionally, the positive effect on insulin sensitivity disappears and your insulin sensitivity might actually be reduced. There are also some indications that alcohol might reduce your strength, endurance and power, as well as having a negative effect on your recovery.
In summary, alcohol
- Contains calories, but no nutrients
- May decrease your ability to build muscle
- Can have a negative effect on you recovery ability
- Will slow down your fat burning
Do you need to ditch the drink?
Although some of the health benefits sounds very impressive, there are also many negative effects of consuming alcohol, especially if you drink too often and too much. If you want to lose weight, I would recommend ditching the drink. Not only will you ensure that you provide your body with all the nutrients required to function optimally, you also ensure that you wake up fresh for your workouts and you will recover faster!
If you do drink
However, if you do feel like having a drink every now and then, I would recommend for you to stay away from pre-made alcoholic drinks, or sugar-laden cocktails. Instead, have a beverage with less sugar like a vodka, fresh lime and soda. A glass of red or white wine every now and then is okay too. By being more mindful about your choices you can reduce your calorie intake and avoid weight gain.
Have you ditched the drink? Let me know in the comments below!