Sunday, August 6, 2017

How drinking can affect your health and fitness goals

We all like to go out with our friends and have a few drinks.  In fact, there's nothing wrong with drinking - so long as it's not harming your relationships, your work or your health.  I know plenty of people who are in good shape, eat a proper (and well-supplemented) diet and drink all the time.  They're fine - but it's not that way for everyone. 

In fact, it's rare.

Overall, though, when you're trying to obtain various health goals, your habit might get in the way.  So, how drinking can affect your health and fitness goals really needs to be something you understand.

Here's the deal, and we're going to be real here.  Not all drinks and beverages are bad for you.  Yes, many are filled with sugar or corn syrup - and these will not help you reach your health goals. There are also some drinks that won’t hurt your waistline or health and fitness goals quite as much, especially if consumed in real moderation.  They can actually have some benefits.  Again, I want to remind you that this is in moderation.

How drinking can affect your health and fitness goals

How drinking can affect your health and fitness goals comes mostly when you over indulge, meaning more than 7-14 drinks per week. Mixed drinks are among the worst alcohol beverages you can drink because of the juices, sodas, and other sugary substances that make a mixed drink just that - a mixed drink.  If you're consuming more than 7-14 drinks per week, this can pack on a lot of calories - and calories that your body has a more difficult time processing.  When your body struggles with processing calories, they become sugars and can be stored as fat.

Here are some side effects of those over indulgences and mixed drinks:

  1. Alcohol has more calories per gram than the macro-nutrients protein, carbohydrates and fats.  Therefore, you are consuming less in quantity but far more calories.
  2. Drinking decreases your inhibitions, which means the wisdom in your decision making is decreased and you are more likely to make poor food choices.
  3. Chronic alcohol abuse has the potential to damage your liver, kidneys, heart and digestive system - all things we need running at their best to have a more balanced health.
  4. Alcohol lowers testosterone levels in both men and women.  It is never good to have lowered hormone levels for any reason.
  5. Alcohol has been found to increase your appetite because it triggers the brain to send the signal that you are hungry - again striking up the possibility for over indulgence of food.
  6. If you drink too much, you're probably not exercising very much.  This should be obvious.
  7. Many people only smoke when they drink, so now you're adding a second bad habit that will work against your health and fitness goals.
Obviously, the best overall advice would be to totally abstain in order to keep peak performance and hit your weight loss goals.  Once your goals are obtained, it would be highly recommended that you stick to the best choice - which would be red wine.  Beer is okay, but if you consume more than 12 ounces 3 times a day and/or 7-14 times per week, your love for beer would be added to the How drinking can affect your health and fitness goals list (see above).

Here is the news that I know most of you want to hear…

You can see that red wine has been mentioned as a better choice.  However... wine can still be on the How drinking can affect your health and fitness goals if the consumption surpasses the 14 drinks per week rule, or you binge drink it.  But, if consumed appropriately, it can have many health benefits.  If you have reached your goals, then wine could be something you add back into your life in moderation.  It would still be recommended, if you are training for something specific, that you keep it to the bare minimum.

Red wine contains a chemical called Ellagic acid.  This acid can actually slow the growth of fat cells and stop the formation of new ones.  It can also help burn more fatty acids in the liver cells.  Now this doesn’t mean go drink a bunch of wine.  When people do that, it's a problem.  Keep it in context, because creating too acidic of an environment in the body creates fat and water storage.  Even with this new research, you still need to keep it to 7-14 drinks per week and at the appropriate portion.  Remember, a 'glass of wine' is really about 4 ounces.

The other benefits of red wine are that it contains active antioxidants like quercetin, which may kill cancer cells.  Tannins in red wine (that give it the red color) contain procyanidins, which have also been known for protecting against heart disease.  Resveratrol - also found in red wine - can help to remove chemicals responsible for causing blood clots and aid in general heart health.

Clearly there are many benefits to drinking red wine.  The thing to remember is the “How drinking can affect your health and fitness goals.”  The list above is a good one to remember.  If you keep that list in mind, choose wine over other alcohol, and maintain a higher level of moderation, you can still drink without ruining your health and fitness goals.

Of course, the biggest recommendation is to abstain and focus on your health and fitness goals through proper nutrition, high-quality dense nutritional supplements, portion control (not over indulging), and proper exercise and fitness.

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