Source KerrLife: I have to share something super special from my good friend Candace:
Many women want to know how much booze they can get away with drinking and still achieve their health, fitness, and fat-loss goals. As a wine lover myself, and as fun and delicious as a glass of wine can be, it may not support your current goals. I’m sorry. Really, I am.
The Chemistry Of Cocktails:
Here’s what really happens: Once alcohol (a.k.a. ethanol) passes your lips and gets absorbed into your system, your body converts it to acetaldehyde, then to acetate, and finally to acetyl-coA.
So, luckily, your body doesn’t convert ethanol or its metabolites directly into fat. In fact, your body can use both acetate and acetyl-coA as fuel. However, as far as fuel sources go, they are both pretty inefficient. That means that it takes more calories to convert them into energy than it does to convert glucose, AKA sugar, into energy.
Well, that sounds good, right? You would think. So, while your body’s cells work on burning through that acetate and acetyl-coA build up first, other fuel sources, like sugar and fat, just hang around.
********In other words, when we drink, fat and sugar burning come to a halt.**********
So while that glass of chardonnay won’t pass your lips and make itself at home on your hips, when we drink, your metabolism as a whole is in fat-storing mode.
At the same time, after you drink, your liver and muscles don’t do a great job of storing sugar as glycogen for later. This is evident when, after a few glasses of wine, you fall asleep and find yourself wide awake around 3am with low blood sugar.
And of course, blood sugar swings beget more blood sugar swings. That’ll be especially true for you if you already have insulin or cortisol issues. As these two hormones battle it out, you’ll feel the effects in terms of sleep issues, cravings, and irregular appetite.
******In short, alcohol primes you for storing fat and then makes a mess of your blood sugar and energy levels, which can easily increase appetite and cravings, resulting in eating more and setting fat storing further in motion.********
Beyond blood sugar fluctuations when you drink, changes in brain chemistry can also drive you to eat more.
The feel-good neurotransmitter dopamine immediately increases when you drink alcohol. Unfortunately, dopamine fires up the reward-seeking pathways in your brain, making you want more alcohol along with those fatty, starchy foods so often on the menu right next to the wine.
Alcohol also affects levels of the stress-related hormones adrenaline and cortisol. First, when we drink, the booze quickly ramps up our levels of the fight-or-flight hormone adrenaline, which causes our bodies to release sugar into our bloodstream. And, when we don’t use that influx of energy to say, outrun a lion, that glucose can easily be stored as fat. Then, in time, the alcohol also raises our levels the stress hormone cortisol, which can further increase appetite and cravings for those fatty, carby, high calorie foods.
This hormonal drop in conjunction with the low blood sugar levels we already talked about make troubled sleep almost inevitable. As we all know, lack of sleep will do nothing favorable for hormone balance, weight loss, and next-day cravings and energy.
Alcohol and Your Health:
By wreaking havoc on our hormones, alcohol does much more than spike our hunger. Blood sugar swings can create chronically high cortisol levels, increase inflammation, and surges in insulin can worsen estrogen dominance.
What’s more, when we gals drink, our growth hormone levels drop. This isn’t great for achieving or maintaining a lean body composition and doesn’t help with signs of aging much, either. Women can also see a rise in testosterone related to alcohol intake. And while testosterone is largely considered a “lean hormone” like growth hormone, in women it can worsen insulin resistance, hinder ovulation, make us break out, lead to facial hair growth, and increase our risk of both diabetes and cardiovascular disease. And as you may have guessed, if you lean toward any of those things already (hello, PCOS!) then these effects can be even worse.
If you’re trying to build or keep your lean mass strong, alcohol isn’t doing you any favors.
Finally, when it comes to preserving lean mass and recovering from workouts, a couple of important events are affected by alcohol consumption: There is a decrease in glycogen synthesis (you’ll have less in the tank for your next workout after you drink), your muscles don’t rehydrate as well, and cytokine signals that trigger post-workout muscle repair are altered, and not for the better.
I think most of us can report that our workouts after a night of drinking are not as good—and research backs that up. No surprise there, right?