A night out sounds good right about now. It’s been a long week. You are enjoying a long weekend. Or, it’s been such a tough day at the office, you deserve to tie one on. If you are at all health conscious, then read this: alcohol has no nutritional value. The energy calories in beer, 7 Kilocal per gram is not even a good short-term source of energy.
What’s Going On Down There?
When you ingest beer or any other alcohol, it goes straight to the bloodstream. Your body cannot recognize this foreign substance, deems it a toxin, and sends it all to the liver for processing and expulsion.
The liver works as fast as it can to break down or metabolize alcohol using its enzymes. In the meantime, the rest of the beer flows throughout your blood stream until there is room for it in the liver. While it is waiting it out in your bloodstream, the alcohol affects your organs and tissues.
Stop, Who Goes There? Glycogen Halts
Alcohol bugs out your body and makes you do stupid things. You might think that the carbohydrates in beer help with recovery, but they do not.
While the liver is metabolizing the alcohol, the carbohydrates in beer are unavailable for use as energy. The actual process of glucose converting into glycogen stops.
Gaining A Spare Tire
The alcohol bugs out your system about as much as having excess glucose in the blood. In your body’s efforts to lower the blood glucose, it sends it to storage as fat. The reason the body does not transform it into glycogen is because that process is halted during alcohol metabolism.
I Could Eat
The body puts a lot of processes on hold while the liver metabolizes the alcohol. Only once the alcohol is gone from the bloodstream and the liver has flushed the toxins out does the body return to normal. Only then does the body tap fat storage to replenish the glycogen depleted from the muscles.
Most bodies metabolize alcohol at a rate of anywhere from 7 grams to 15 grams of alcohol per hour. The average 12-ounce beer contains 10 to 14 grams of alcohol. In other words, your liver will be preoccupied processing the alcohol in that one beer for 3 to 4 hours before it even touches the carbohydrates from that same beer.
Alcohol in the system translates to low blood sugar level. This messes up your sleep patterns. In particular, alcohol consumption interrupts REM sleep. This portion of Sleep allows your brain to process information from the day. Basically, during Rapid Eye Movement, your brain commits occurrences from each day to long-term memory once it finishes processing the information from the day.
Alcohol causes you to have to pee more often, which results in dehydration. While you are getting up to pee constantly, you are losing even more sleep.
Are Your Muscles Shrinking?
Another way that alcohol consumption affects your body is that it decreases your muscle. When you cannot get enough sleep, your body produces less human growth hormone, HGH, which is responsible for building muscle. Yes, then you may be noticing that your muscles are shrinking.
Cortisol is how the body deals with fight or flight stress. Having a few beers while with friends makes you jovial and a singing good time. In the aftermath, the cortisol increases, which negatively impacts your testosterone levels and makes you ready to fight an imaginary dragon or run from it. If you have not gone home yet, then you might play the fool in public or get into a bar fight.
Did Someone Say Reduced Testosterone?
Women and men both need testosterone for the development of muscles. Drinking alcohol regularly depletes testosterone, which is not good for your training. All that hard work is going down the drain when you drink.
Keep Your Training On Track
Rather than drink to deal with troubles or joys of any normal day, save up drinking for a special occasion. Avoid intake of alcohol on training days, especially right before or right afterward. The reason is that you need to take in som good carbohydrates so that your body can recover from the exercise.
Do opt for light beer, as it causes less for your body to process. Additionally, take in one glass of water between beers. Do not drink before a long or excruciatingly hot training session. If you just cannot resist, then be sure to drink plenty of water before and while exercising, and eat a good breakfast.
Basically, drinking is rougher on the system than you are led to believe by its prevalence in society. Commercials make it look like a good idea. Yet, if you are serious about your dedication to training and building a strong and healthy body, you are better off imbibing only on special occasions.
Sure, you might gain muscle mass, but that is actually a sign of health. Being skinny from drinking means your insides are screaming out for help. The liver is overworked, your blood sugar is a mess, you are getting fatter, and your muscles are getting weaker. It is not a pretty picture but sure is fun for the first few drinks, before flight or fight starts taking place. Do not lose sleep over drinking, because you will have trouble waking up to get moving your training day.