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Alcohol and Fat Loss

By: Jason Yun

The basic premise in burning body fat and losing weight is this – burn more calories than what you have consumed.  The rules are not that simple though.  Everything that we eat contains calories such as protein, carbohydrates and fat. 

An important factor that should be considered in burning body fat is alcohol.  Acohol contains calories.  With regards to fat, only a small, single-digit, percentage of alcohol is converted to fat.  The downside of alcohol though is it lessens the fat that your body could use for energy.

About burning body fat – the body burns body fat for energy when it is resting.  When the body is active or involved in an activity such as a workout, the body is using carbohydrates and glycogen or stored carbohydrates for energy.  It is only when the body is at rest or indulging in activities that does not require much energy that it burns fat such as watching tv, reading, cooking, brushing teeth and even sleeping.  However, the amount of fat burned by the body will depend on the lifestyle of the person.

There are some instances when the body is prevented from burning fat – skipping meals like breakfast, eating low-calorie diets, lack of sleep or rest and drinking lots of alcohol.

This happens due to a substance referred to as acetate.  When alcohol is ingested, acetate levels are increased quickly.  Acetate inhibits the body from burning fat.  The body responds by creating a substance called acetyl CoA which causes the body to create more body fat. 

The body can only process .5 to 1 ounce of alcohol each hour.  Alcohol is considered toxic by the body.

The liver usually finds it difficult to accomplish all its normal tasks.  The process is made even more difficult with the presence of alcohol. 

For every 12 ounces of beer, one ingests .6 ounces of alcohol. If you drink 5 beers then the body cannot burn fat for 6 hours.  The more bottles you drink, the longer time it takes before the body can burn body fat for energy. Also, it is important to bear in mind that alcohol does not have any nutritional value.  It does not contain vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein, omega-3’s or any nutrients at all.

What should you do? If one wants to lose fat, then you better avoid alcohol.  If alcohol cannot be avoided altogether, then drinking it in moderation would be the next best option.  Or, perhaps replace it with a healthier option such as wine or light beer.  Drink only a maximum of 2 bottles for 1-2 days per week.  Drinking alcohol daily will be detrimental to the fat loss plan. 

This was one of the articles I wrote for my Columbus Boot Camp Clients. Everyday is fun and exciting. Never a dull moment. Check out the blog for all the past workouts and videos. Yun Fitness Bootcamps Blog



Jason Yun, a certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and Sports Nutritionist, is the owner of Yun Strength and Fitness Systems, LLC and is a Columbus fitness boot camp instructor and weight management teacher.


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