The silly season is just around the corner, that means for many of us it’s a time for lots of socialising and this can mean sharing a few drinks with friends. We decided to take the opportunity to explain a little bit about alcohol and what effect it can have on your body. We hope to empower you to make your own informed decisions when it comes to nights out.
The truth about alcohol
Alcohol is often called “empty calories” and for good reason. Alcohol is seen to be a poison to the body, the energy (calories) that you consume through drinking it cannot be stored, therefore your body has to work hard to use it as quickly as possible.
The effect that alcohol has on fat storage is very similar to that of carbohydrates, it suppresses fat oxidation, it enables dietary fats to be stored with ease. In a nutshell, if you want to maintain a lean body avoiding alcohol is a good choice. It’s not just the added calories (alcohol offers seven calories per gram compared to carbs and protein, which contain four each). Alcohol affects metabolism because when you drink it the body puts all other metabolic processes on hold until it has processed the alcohol. Basically, your body stops burning fat!
Your body can’t convert the calories from the alcohol to fat, meaning it needs to use them up first and will delay all other fat burning and energy use until the alcohol has been processed. The fastest way for your body to use up this energy is to increase your body temperature – this is the reason you often feel hot and look flushed when drinking and can suffer from a poor night’s sleep.
All in all it’s not good…..however for most of us, alcohol is a part of our social lives and it can be very difficult to completely stay away from it.
How to negotiate night out
If you choose alcohol to be a part of your lifestyle, there are better choices you can make. Here’s our guide to help you to navigate nights out.
BEFORE YOU GO:
1. Never drink alcohol on an empty stomach.
2. Eat protein rich meals throughout the day to keep you going and keep you away from those “beige” party snacks you will inevitably dig into if you’re not prepared.
3. Make sure you’re hydrated! Drink plenty of water during the day.
4. Add a squeeze of lemon to your water too, this may help to improve your liver function and help to remove toxins.
5. Avoid too much caffeine which can act as a diuretic and make you lose water before you even start on the alcohol.
DURING YOUR NIGHT OUT:
1. Obviously, the less alcohol you drink, the better you should in theory feel the next day.
2. If you’re drinking spirits, always order single measures and choose triple distilled Vodka like Grey Goose or Bombay Sapphire Gin with a slimline tonic mixer or soda. Avoid drinking darker spirits and they contain more congeners (organic chemical compounds which are toxic in large quantities). If you’re drinking wine, add a splash of water either still or sparkling. White wine generally has much lower levels of tannins (a congener) compared to red.
3. Either choose to have a starter OR dessert OR alcohol, never have all three! The calorie account from just eating your main meal and one of the three will be a significant saving.
4. Try and grab a glass of water or a soft drink between alcoholic drinks.
We hope you use this information to help you to avoid those dreaded hangovers and really understand what’s really going on in your body, informed choices are the key. We wish you the very best for the upcoming festive season, have fun and be merry!