I’m just going to rip this Band Aid off right now. If you like to drink, you are really not going to like this article. But, unfortunately, the truth does hurt but needs to be said. So treat this like karma for when you told your kids Santa isn’t real. Deep breath … And here we go.
Alcohol rapidly increases fat in the body
Aside from the excessively large number of calories in alcohol, your body’s response to alcohol greatly increases fat. When you drink alcohol, your body initiates a unique metabolic response (metabolic – meaning how your body ‘processes’ what you consume) that only ever occurs when you get poisoned.
To put it simply, it gets absorbed into your blood and sent to your kidneys to get rid of the poison. While this is happening, your body sends all nutrients straight to storage (fat) rather than turning it into muscle, burning it or using it to heal your body. Because it can’t do that and save you from poison at the same time. And on top of all of that, alcohol also makes you hungrier and eat more than you actually need.
Alcohol greatly reduces muscle growth
Alcohol attacks your muscle growth in two ways: first, by lowering your muscle-building hormones, and second, by reducing your muscle-repairing proteins. Research done on blood samples taken by patients submitted to the ER for alcohol poisoning found that testosterone (which stimulates muscle growth) was lower than average levels by up to 45%.
On top of that, MPS (muscle protein synthesis – protein that builds muscle) was reduced by 37% and even those with a high protein diet would only see at best an MPS reduction of 24%.
The not bad news
If you’ve survived it this far, well done. Your reward is some “not bad news” about drinking and that is that it really comes down to moderation. The effects really just come down to how much you drink. Light drinking (although not better than avoiding drinking) once a week has such a minimal impact you most likely won’t notice anything.
However, it really should be noted that drinking after intense exercise should be avoided altogether as there is enough going on in your body as it is.