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Alcohol and exercise.....!?
By: David Hagger

Some experts say there are health benefits from consuming a single drink per day, such as reducing the risk of hypertension (high blood pressure) , but if you are trying to lose weight, that one drink may well sabotage your progress...
Alcohol is processed by your body differently than other drinks and foods. Normally, you get energy to live from the calories in fat, protein and carbohydrates contained in food. These are digested slowly in the stomach but a problem occurs when alcohol is present. Alcohol is absorbed directly through the stomach lining and can arrive at the brain and liver within minutes.

Because the alcohol has jumped ahead of the cue, the liver needs to process it with priority, therefore leaving carbohydrates and fats more likely to be transported away to fat storage sites in the body (your bum, thighs, hips, stomach, back of arms etc.) This is particularly problematic when food and alcohol have been consumed at the same time. Hence why having a large evening meal over a bottle of wine does nothing for your chances of dropping a dress size or two.

There is no nutritional value offered by alcohol and it contains a whooping 7 calories per gram. This means the calories are completely useless (apart from making you fat).

Alcohol will cause loss of water and dehydration as it is a diuretic. When you lose water you also lose essential minerals including zinc, calcium, magnesium and potassium. Without these, it becomes difficult for your body to execute chemical reactions, perform controlled muscle contractions and maintain optimal fluid balance.

A noticeable increase of stomach acid has been attributed with drinking alcohol, which over time can lead to ulcers, liver disease and heart conditions. A big issue with alcohol is that it lowers your inhibitions which can be very detrimental to your fat loss goals. By stimulating your appetite and reducing your will power, it's not surprising that alcohol will more likely have you overeating the wrong choices like takeaway and fried foods.

Some people try skipping a daily meal so they can 'save' the calories for drinking later. This is a big mistake. You will arrive at the pub hungry and after a few drinks you'll be snacking on chips, dips and eventually crack under the pressure and order a basket of deep fried wedges with sour cream!

If you do drink when you are out, avoid mixing alcohol with sugary mixers. Classic examples of these combos are rum and coke, Bacardi and lemonade and any premixed alcoholic drink in a can like Canadian club. When choosing mixers, make it a diet / sugar free version (diet coke, coke zero). Vodka is the lowest calories and mixed with soda and a wedge of lime is a good combo. At the end of the day, this advice is only worthwhile if yu drink moderately. If you go out every weekend and get totally smashed then you are kidding yourself if you think you'll ever get the body you dream of.

Bottom line: Every drink you have will slow your weight loss progress so save the drinks for the weekend and only a few glasses per session or you'll ruin all the good work you've accomplished.

Added: 13-09-2011