On Wine and Weight Loss: The SadFace Chronicles
I learned something amazing about how alcohol really screws up our fat processing abilities – amazing, and sad, for those of us who like to enjoy a glass of wine now and then. If you are looking to lose body fat, then you need to lose the booze. Here’s why:
Alcohol essentially shuts off the vital system your body uses to access and burn stored fat. Among the myriad jobs your liver has, once alcohol enters your system, the liver must rally the troops and usher all of its resources to detoxify your body.
While the liver is focused on detoxing, it isn’t focused on burning fat. And since it takes about 10 hours to fully remove the alcohol from your body after one drink, you can begin to see how detrimental drinking can be to your fat loss goals.
One study found that after just one and a half drinks the body’s fat-burning ability is stunted by 75%. That means anything you're chowing down on along with that drink has a much greater likelihood of being converted to fat instead of being used as energy. And, yes, because alcohol lowers our inhibitions, it’s likely we’ll go for a larger-than-necessary portion, second helping, or other less-than-ideal option, which can make a bad diet scenario even worse.
The science behind how the body processes alcohol is fascinating – it involves not only the liver but also the kidneys and the brain. For guys, it even affects testosterone levels.
Some of you may have seen the too-good-to-be-true news floating around social media that drinking wine before bed makes you skinny. As you know, when it sounds too good to be true, it probably is...and that is the case here. Yes, women who replaced a carb-y or sugar-laden snack with a glass of wine seem to have fared better and, yes, red wine contains antioxidants that can be beneficial to our bodies. But it has also been made clear that wine may be acting as a coping mechanism for stress in addition to (still) feeding that ever-present sugar dragon. This temporary fix isn't doing you any favors. Instead of reaching for a glass of wine, try another relaxation technique such as yoga or meditation to squelch the stress and squash the dragon. And while it's totally okay to mourn the loss of wine, your fitness goals are sure to thank you.