All About Alcohol
Alcohol is a common topic in the nutrition world. It is a common thing on the weekends or after a stressful day to destress with an adult beverage.Alcohol is over a million dollar industry and in a recent study done by the Washington Post, the top 30% of Americans consume around a drink a night. Alcohol is also common to have when going out for a fun night or a special occasion. That is why it is worth it to understand what alcohol does to you in terms of nutrition so you can be prepared for it when it comes up.
This information is by no means telling you to stop drinking, it is simply giving you information to know what you are getting into. The more information you have, the better equipped you will be when a situation comes up. As with anything finding a good balance is key. That is going to look different for everyone. Lets go over some information with alcohol.
- Alcohol is known as the “4th macronutrient”. It is broken down in the body as 7 calories per 1 gram.
- Alcohol is absorbed into the blood, 20% from the stomach and 80% through the small intestine.
- The liver reads alcohol as a toxin to the body so it makes it a priority to get it out of your system over anything else.
- Since your liver is prioritizing the alcohol first, by the time it gets to your excess food or other toxins they will be stored as fat. This is why you see some weight gain associated with drinking.
- Alcohol will slow down the production of your sex hormones. This will result in lower testosterone and higher estrogen. For both males and females.
- Alcohol will slow down protein synthesis, making it harder to build and repair muscles.
- Alcohol is an empty calorie. There are NO vitamins and minerals in it.
- Alcohol CAN put your nervous system into a parasympathetic nervous system, but excess alcohol can do damage to the nervous system.
- Alcohol can dehydrate you, leading to the hangover feeling. Dehydration will lead to water retention and a bloated feeling.
Most of that information was the negative side effects of alcohol, but studies have shown that low to moderate alcohol consumption can aid in cardiovascular health. With anything finding the grey area of balance is what is going to be best. If you have a super detailed goal and you are on a role losing weight, then maybe skip the drinks. If you know that its not going to effect you and you are wanting to have a good night out, then by all means go for it. The balance of alcohol consumption is individual, and know the pros and cons to drinking will better help you make that choice.