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Alcohols effects on fat loss and muscle gain

Calories in Beer

  • 1 Pint of Fosters :- 193Kcal
  • 1 Pint of Budweiser :- 227Kcal
  • 1 Pint of Carling :- 187Kcal
  • 1 Pint of Stella :- 256Kcal

What is alcohol?

Alcohol is a clear flammable liquid which is less dense that water and is also water soluble. The alcohol we should be interested in is called “ethyl alcohol” or ethanol. Its made up of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen held together by bonds.

Alcohol contains 7 calories per gram, this is almost twice the amount protein and carbohydrates contain and only 2 fewer calories than fat. Calories in alcohol are also “empty calories” which means they lack the nutrients beneficial for a healthy metabolism and will therefore increase fat storage.

What happens when we drink alcohol?

After drinking alcohol, around 20% is absorbed into the blood stream and the remainder is taken into the blood stream through the small intestine. Alcohol is usually absorbed fairly quick, however certain factors can influence this rate of absorption including:

  • The amount of food in the stomach, the more food the slower the absorption
  • The type of drink eg champagne is absorbed more quickly than non sparkling drinks
  • The alcohol concentration of the drink, higher alcoholic drinks are absorbed quicker

Most of the alcohol in the blood stream gets processed in the liver where the alcohol is broken down by the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH, which is contained in the liver cells). ADH then metabolizes the alcohol into acetaldehyde. Acetaldehyde is broken down into acetate by another enzyme, aldehyde dehydrogenase. In the final stage, the acetate is further metabolized to where it eventually exits the body as waste products carbon dioxide and water.

When blood levels of alcohol are high, the microsomal ethanol oxidizing system starts to break down a small percentage alcohol using a different set of enzymes. You might call this system the body’s way of dealing with alcohol as a toxic agent rather than a dietary source.

Remaining small percentage of alcohol is lost through sweat, urine and breathing.

What effects does alcohol have on my body?

The most important negative function of alcohol is the suppression of testosterone which is the daddy of all sex hormones. Testosterone is a great hormone for burning fat, therefore when it is reduced, fat storage is hastened. Testosterone is a very anabolic hormone which contributes to lean body mass therefore less testosterone means less muscle, and less muscle means less calories burned and a slower metabolic rate.

Another downside of alcohol is dehydration of muscle cells. Hydration of muscle cells is important when trying to increase muscle mass. Water is also a very important part of many bodily processes. Being dehydrated can seriously hinder your performance.

Alcohol also blocks the absorption of many important nutrients which are involved in muscle contraction, relaxation and growth including calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron and potassium. If your still not satisfied, alcohol also speeds up aromatization of androgens into estrogens, so unless you want to develop bitch tits, it might be worth ditching the booze.


  • Alcohol causes dehydration
  • Alcohol reduces testosterone levels
  • Alcohol increases oestrogen levels
  • Alcohol blocks the absorbtion of nutrients involved in muscle functions

Basically, if you’re trying to lose fat you’ve got to cut out the alcohol completely. Even small amounts lower Testosterone up to 25% which has potent effects on the metabolism and promotes fat storage.

— Ste @ 2:33 am, November 8, 2006

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