Can I get lean and still drink alcohol?

Have you ever wondered why you can’t seem to get rid of that big gut no matter how much you exercise or eat the right foods? The missing piece may be the beer or wine you’re drinking with dinner or more specifically the alcohol in those drinks.

Alcohol has calories in it just like the carbohydrates and fat everyone has demonized at one point or another. Each gram of alcohol has 7 calories where those carbs only have 4 calories per gram. However, unlike carbohydrates, drink manufacturers aren’t required to put the grams of alcohol on the nutrition label nor the calories of those grams. Which means those beers that are “only 70 calories!” really are about 200 calories based on the alcohol content plus the carbohydrate content.

Super deceptive if you ask me. However if it was just about calories my article would end there and I’d go back to my world of watching motivated people who want to lose weight and get strong gain the support they lack to reach their goals. Since it’s more than just the amount of calories alcohol brings, I’ll have to delve a bit deeper.

One part is the calories or energy building blocks. The second part is the preference the body gives certain source of those energy blocks. The third part is what happens due to that preference.

Why does preference matter? Well, if we aren’t eating our body is using fat primarily for fuel after our stomach contents have emptied. When you consume alcohol the body immediately shuts down fat as a fuel source and acts as if you just provided it an amazing source of energy with all of those alcohol calories!

The problem though is what happens because of that preference. The body raises insulin in response to those wonderful calories, but the alcohol pulls a Heisman on the body and bypasses the insulin! Can you believe it? It completely skips the part about being used as energy and goes straight to the liver. What does it do when it’s there? Like any new guest of the liver, it makes new fat cells.

The next part that makes this journey all the more frustrating is, because alcohol bypasses the body’s ability to use the energy, it stimulates new fat cell creation, and poisons the body while it’s doing it (yes, regardless of how much you enjoy that beer its classified as a toxin for the human body) the body goes into a survival state and secretes hormones that store this newly formed fat directly in the lower abdomen!

You’re literally drinking your gut bigger with each sip. Talk about a blow to your goals! You exercise until you collapse. You count every calorie of every ounce you eat, yet you end up staying fat or getting fatter!

What can you possibly do? Most people say drink in moderation. There’s a lot of fit people out there who enjoy a drink from time to time. There’s also a lot of fit people who do cheat days. Unfortunately to those of us in the position of needing to lose 20+, we don’t get those luxuries. Those cheat days? Utterly destructive if you’re not sub 7% body fat for males or 14% for females. Those couple of drinks? Just as disruptive towards your goals if not more so than the cheat day!

The best action is to completely quit drinking. Do you need alcohol to enjoy events with friends and family? Do you need alcohol to cope with a stressful event? If the answer is yes, then it’s best you seek professional assistance such as a therapist or counselor. If the answer is no, then it shouldn’t ruin your life to switch to another drink during social situations and keep crushing your goals (or start!).

If you’re unsure a good way to stop drinking, hit me up. I’d more than happy to refer you to a wonderful place called “A Body & Mind Health Services” (208) 683-8320. They’re a great resource to address any snags you may have.


To Your Success,

Christoph Kettermann

Hidden Gem CrossFit