Time at the Bar....

Time at the bar....

We all know the feeling, tough day, long evening, slow commute, heavy work load etc. So bring on the - Plonk, sauce, tipple, ‘stress relief’, whatever you want to call it we all indulge in it at some point.... We all turn to ‘grandpa’s cough medicine’ most weeks, at dinner, while on holiday, at sporting events, on weekends- the list goes on. Some studies show that moderate drinking is linked to several health benefits, especially cardiovascular health. (Moderate drinking is considered one drink for women and two drinks for men each day.) Some health experts claim that alcohol has no place in fitness. So here’s some tech talk into the ins and outs of ‘grandpas old cough medicine’ and its direct effect on the body.


Calorie Count


Even a moderate amount of drinking substantially increases your daily caloric intake. In order to successfully meet fitness goals, it is necessary to burn more calories than are consumed. The effect alcohol has upon the body is that it reduces the amount of fat burned for energy. Of the alcoholic calories one consumes, less than 5 percent are converted into fat. Instead, alcohol is converted into acetate. Acetate is a toxin that causes nausea, headaches and fatigue. Since the body feeds off of what is consumed, when acetate is present, the body burns the acetate instead of the fat. In essence, acetate hinders weight loss.

Moreover, while drinking alcohol, many people often associate alcohol with food consumption. This is due to the fact that alcohol increases insulin levels, which trigger a hypoglycaemic state in which sugar and processed food cravings are observed, As the majority of heavy drinking occurs in the evening, eating these high sugar food late at night makes it difficult for the body to digest and burn fat.

Moreover, while drinking alcohol, many people often associate alcohol with food consumption. This is due to the fact that alcohol increases insulin levels, which trigger a hypoglycaemic state in which sugar and processed food cravings are observed, As the majority of heavy drinking occurs in the evening, eating these high sugar food late at night makes it difficult for the body to digest and burn fat.

The Effect of Alcohol and Fitness on Sleep


During sleep, the body repairs itself, thus building greater muscle mass and stronger muscles after a workout. Alcohol negatively effects sleep cycles, by inhibiting the release of human growth hormone, better known as HGH. HGH is a polypeptide hormone that increases tissue growth, cell repair, energy levels, fat loss and muscle growth. However, with consistent consumption of alcohol, there is an attendant decrease in HGH of as much as 70 percent.

Consuming several drinks before sleep often leads to a poor night's sleep. Since alcohol tends to have sleep-inducing effects, it reduces REM sleep during the first part of the sleep cycle. However, alcohol is quickly metabolized which results in shallow sleep and frequent awakenings during the second half of the sleep cycle. Since being well-rested is essential for achieving fitness goals, it is not difficult to understand why fitness experts caution against regular consumption of alcoholic beverages.


So, Do Alcohol and Fitness Mix?


The negative effect that alcohol has upon the body generally outweighs any health benefits it can possibly provide. However good food and healthy intake of high quality nutrients will bring more benefit than that of antioxidant dense red wine. That being said, the effect that alcohol has on fitness is not intended to prevent one from drinking at all, but rather to spur consciousness of the possible outcomes of adding too much alcohol to one's diet. Furthermore, avoiding alcohol consumption will enable one to more quickly build muscle mass. It would seem that, indeed, the more that one combines alcohol and fitness, the further one moves from achieving an impressive physique.

For other tips and advice direct your fitness/nutrition based questions to tom.horton@cadburyhouse.com.

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