For many of us, alcohol is a part of our lives that promises not only fun and relaxation, but is just as much a part of our lives as breakfast or the way to work. As a result, it is no wonder that many want to know how they can bring alcohol consumption in line with their sporting goals. In the context of this article we would like to deal in detail with the effects of alcohol on the organism and relativize many of the common opinions, because one thing we should all realize, the quality of life should not be neglected in any case.
How alcohol affects your body
Under warranty you have read in one of the countless fitness magazines ever the statement that alcohol is basically directly converted into endogenous adipose tissue and thus directly responsible for the development of obesity. This view, however, is much simpler and, in this form, simply not correct, even though it may sound admittedly plausible. In reality, however, it turns out a little differently, because as soon as the alcohol in the form of ethanol passes your lips, it is absorbed by the organism and converted to acetaldehyde. This is followed by another conversion to acetate and finally to acetyl-CoA as the metabolic end product. As you can see, alcohol is not converted directly into fat. In fact, our body can use both the acetate and the acetyl-CoA as fuel. However, the news is not that good, because the energetic utilization of these substances is so inefficient that it requires more energy than can ultimately be obtained from it in the form of glucose. Since our organism has an aversion to inefficient processes and is also unable to store the substances resulting from the ethanol conversion as energy sources, these must be burned immediately. As a result, the burning of these substances has absolute priority, which means that the use of fats, proteins and carbohydrates must be avoided.
Alcohol consumption restricts energy burning
So while you enjoy your Chardonnay, it does not land on your hips as if by magic, because instead something else happens - your body switches to fat storage mode. Why this is so, is obvious, because while your organism is busy to burn the inefficient energy sources acetate and acetyl-CoA work all other energetic metabolic processes only on the back burner. In detail, for example, it is difficult for your liver and muscle cells to store sugar efficiently as glycogen. As a result, there is a serious impairment of blood sugar levels associated with alcohol consumption, which favors some phenomena known as part of alcohol consumption. So you've been woken up by a hungry bear at four o'clock in the morning after a long night's sleep, and then plundered your fridge - right? This and the sleep problems that often occur in this context are consequences of blood sugar fluctuations as a result of alcohol consumption. Particularly affected are people who already have problems with insulin and cortisol levels. The symbolic battle between these two hormones, however, has a strong impact on your appetite, which also favors the build-up of body fat, as well as the inefficient use of macronutrients under the influence of alcohol.
Alcohol has a significant impact on your appetite
Apart from the fluctuations in blood sugar levels, which already have a major impact on your body, alcohol also causes changes in brain chemistry. In detail, consumption causes a release of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which, among other things, directly activates the reward center of your brain. Another effect associated with this is the enhancement of all emotional impressions, which is also reflected in the eating behavior. After a long night in a club, those who have stopped off at a snack or fast food restaurant know from practical experience what influence alcohol has on the development of the preference for fatty and high-energy food. The lower the average level of dopamine in a human being, the greater the corresponding hormonal rashes favored by the alcohol. To make it short - alcohol tempts us to overeat and to feel good about it. The increase in appetite is by far not only due to the increase in the level of dopamine in the blood, because the release of the stress hormone cortisol, which increases with the increasing alcohol concentration, also promotes this effect.
The alcohol and your health
Not only does it affect our appetite or insulin levels, it also affects other important hormones of particular importance to us as athletes. First, it affects growth hormone, HGH for short, whose concentration of blood can be lowered by alcohol consumption, which negatively impacts the ability to regenerate, lose fat and build muscle. In addition, your physical performance suffers from high alcohol consumption, as the glycogen synthesis, so the replenishment of your body's carbohydrate stores, runs very inefficient, so that the rehydration of your muscles is also very slow. By the time you reach your initial performance level again, it can take up to a week to consume enough alcohol.
If you already drink, then at least right
As you may have discovered, the effects of alcohol on your body are not exactly positive. Not least due to the fact that alcohol in our latitudes is a cultural asset that many of us belong to life, it makes little sense to make life difficult for oneself and completely on the cherished red wine, the sparkling wine or cold beer to abandon the Baggersee. On the one hand, you could completely exclude the negative effects of alcohol, as a large part of the population also practices. On the other hand, you are pursuing sporting goals that you do not want to neglect, so it will be necessary to make some compromises. In order to make this a little easier for you, we have listed below 5 tips to make it easier for you to handle alcohol sensibly.
1 - Do not overdo it
Scientific research shows that most of the negative effects mentioned in this article only occur at concentrations of 0.5 grams per kilogram or more, which in turn does not mean that you can drink more, as a few drinks are actually enough. to get that value. Accordingly, you should remember to drink a glass less.
2 - Watch your protein intake
To prevent the build-up of unnecessary body fat caused by the inefficient metabolism of carbohydrates, you should avoid high-carbohydrate foods during and after alcohol consumption. Instead, grab vegetables and high-protein snacks instead. Even a good old bratwurst fulfills its purpose in this context.
3 - Everyone is different
Always keep in mind that not every person has the same physical conditions for the consumption of alcohol, which means that you should not focus on the alcohol consumption of other people, but listen to your body in this regard.
4 - Reduce oxidative stress
Anything that reduces inflammatory processes and oxidative stress on your body helps your body better manage the effects of alcohol. Herbs such as silymarin, which were already known as medicinal plants in the Middle Ages, can help to reduce those oxidative stress.
5 - Keep an eye on your goals
Of course, it's sometimes hard to see our friends uninhibitedly drinking drinks, and after a few drinks we pull the ripcord and stop for non-alcoholic drinks. But always remember that you have goals that you want to achieve, which does not work without a bit of discipline. However, saving a few drinks has a positive effect, because instead of quantity, unlike your friends, you can count on quality and, at the same time, indulge in a more exclusive drink in a bar.