Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Bottle & The Belly

A few years back, manufacturers of vodka, gin and clear rum were promoting the idea that drinking clear alcohol would keep you trim as long as you counted the calories (calculated at about 7 cal per gram). What they didn’t tell you was that your body can discriminate (and prefer) one type of calorie source over another.

According to some research from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, alcohol can literally put a halt to fat metabolism.

Participants in this study were given two servings of clear alcohol administered 30 minutes apart. Fat metabolism was monitored before, and after each serving. What they discovered was that even hours after drinking both drinks, fat metabolism had decreased by over 70%.

This means that while your body might be busy processing alcohol as fuel, it will also be simultaneously suppressing you're fat burning abilities. Basically: the more your drink, the less your body burns fat.

They also found test subjects to have decreased levels of the hormone leptin. Leptin is the hormone that tells your brain when you are full. So if you are having food with your drinks, the chances you will over eat are greatly increased. And given that alcohol becomes your body's “preferred” source of fuel, this means that all the calories you do consume go directly toward your waist line.

There’s even more; alcohol is known to increase your cortisol levels and reduce testosterone levels for up to 24 hours after you have had your last drink. In case you forgot, cortisol is known as the “stress hormone” that suppresses metabolism and encourages your body to store fat.

As for testosterone; this hormone plays a major role in building and maintaining muscle tissue which is used as your calorie burning furnace. This combination of events is certainly not good for trimming your mid-section or adding muscle.

The moral of the story is this, to get the most health benefit from consuming alcoholic beverages, limit your intake. The maximum recommended daily dose for women is 4-6 oz of wine and, if you’re a man, 8-12 oz. Note: those are daily numbers! No “stock-piling” up to use them all at once on a single night! As the Greeks would say, everything in moderation, including excess!

As Always – Enjoy Your Life!

John Aaron Villarreal


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