7 reasons to decrease your alcohol intake
I often get questions about alcohol and its effect on weight loss or muscle gain. While most people have an understanding that alcohol is high in calories, very few are aware of the other ways it can impact their health goals. Here are 7 reasons to decrease your alcohol intake and a few tips to help you along the way!
1. High in empty calories; 1 g of alcohol is 7 calories. To give you an idea of how high this is, carbohydrates contains 4 calories per gram. Plus, some drinks are mixed with soda and juice that further increase the calories.
2. Stimulates appetite, thus resulting into a high intake of calories from food.
3. Alcohol intake delays replenishment of energy reserves and muscle repair.
4. Decreases intake, absorption and usage of many vitamins or minerals.
5. Disrupts sleep cycle by reducing time spent in deep sleep, which is crucial for muscle growth and recovery.
6. Causes dehydration and can reduce performance by 10 % or more. Dehydration is also associated to hang over symptoms that decrease overall performance such as fatigue, nausea, and headaches.
7. Increases chances of muscle cramps, rapid heart rate, and increased core temperature thus decreasing your performance during exercise.
Tips to reduce your alcohol consumption:
- Predetermine how many drinks you will have
- Always opt for the smaller glass
- Avoid cocktails or make your own low calorie version
- Sip your drink and take the time to enjoy it
- Stay away from drinking games
- Alternate every alcoholic drink with a glass of water
- Be the designated driver
- Occupy yourself: socialize, dance, etc.
- Do not drink more than the following recommendations:
What’s your technique to reduce your alcohol consumption?
By Alyssa Fontaine, nutritionist
American Dietetic Association. 2010. Alcohol and performace. Online. <http://www.scandpg.org/local/resources/files/2010/SD-USA_Fact_Sheet_May_2010_Alcohol_and_Performance_aa.pdf>. Page viewed on June 18, 2014.
Educ Alcool. 2007. Low risk drinking. Online.< http://educalcool.qc.ca/en/alcohol-and-you/health/low-risk-drinking/#.U6sDcY1dWW4l>. Page viewed on June 18, 2014.
Irish Nutrition Dietetic Association. 2013. The truth about alcohol and excercise. Online.<https://www.indi.ie/fact-sheets/fact-sheets-on-sports-nutrition/518-the-truth-about-alcohol-and-exercise.html>. Page viewed on June 18, 2014