The influence of alcohol on the physical form


Without a doubt, alcohol consumption has an effect on our physical form. However, this effect depends on the type of alcohol we consume (beer, wine, colorful drinks), quantities, pores and what we eat in the meantime. However, until you get drunk unconscious every few days, fears that your form falls into ruins are slightly exaggerated.


The process of alcohol metabolism

When you drink beer, wine or vodka, the ethanol from these beverages is given priority by the body in the metabolism process. Almost all other processes are stopped and alcohol is broken down in four stages


Ethanol › Acetaldehyde › Acetate › acyl coenzyme A

Acetate and acylcoenzyme A can be used to create energy in the body, but it is an expensive process. One gram of alcohol contains 7 calories, but its conversion into energy is ineffective, since 17-20% of energy is lost. In other words, this reaction has a very strong thermogenic effect. Like proteins, contrary to popular belief, alcohol is difficult to transform into fat. But acetate and acylcoenzyme A present in the cells give the body an indication that there is no need to consume sugars and fats. So instead of storing fat, alcohol is more a factor causing its burning. At this point, you probably think that alcohol is not as bad as everyone thinks. And generally, if it is consumed in an intelligent way, it is not really harmful.


The effect of alcohol on muscle and body fat level and efficiency

To build muscle and burn fat you need to properly manage calories and hormones. Alcohol affects both one and the other. Consuming it provides calories, and in certain conditions can also affect the hormones that help the body build muscle and maintain a slim figure. Alcohol also has specific properties, such as affecting brain processes and muscle cells. And all this has an effect on building muscle and burning fat.


Does alcohol block muscle building

You have probably heard that alcohol tragically affects muscle building. And this is true in this area. Percentage drinks trigger mechanisms that have a negative effect on muscle protein synthesis and regeneration after training. However, as long as you keep moderation in drinking, it is relatively safe.


In addition, alcohol affects muscle metabolism in several ways

– raises myostatin

– reduces glycogen resynthesis

– inhibits post-exercise muscle inflammation (yes, it is a bad symptom!)

– slows down mTOR kinesis

– may affect the secretion of insulin and IGF-1


All these reactions have a negative effect on the muscles. However, there is an exception to each rule. In 2014, several interesting studies on the influence of alcohol on athletes’ form were published in Sports Medicine. In one study participants took 1 g alcohol / kg body weight. 1 g per 1 kg body weight for an average 80 kg man is 80 g alcohol, or about 6 drinks. The second group drank the same volume of non-alcoholic beverage. Drinks were drunk 30 minutes after making a total of 300 reps on quadriceps. Both groups were examined after 36 and 60 hours after training in terms of isometric, concentric (lifting) and eccentric (lowering) strength. The alcohol group had significantly worse results by 22%, 12% and 15% respectively in comparison with the second group. Thus, the results of the research show what everyone expected.

However, Barnes went a step further. He compared muscle regeneration after consumption of 1 g alcohol / kg body weight with 0.5 g alcohol / kg body weight. In the first case, the results were predictable, but in the second, alcohol consumption had no effect on muscle recovery. So if you drink 6 drinks your muscles will feel it, but 3 is the allowed amount.


How alcohol affects the physical form

There are a few basic rules that players follow when it comes to regeneration after a match, competition, etc. You can be shocked, but athletes who drink alcohol after such an event do not feel its influence on the form. A study was conducted on 20 rugby players. During the test, they consumed 3 g of alcohol per kg of body weight. It is three times more than the dose mentioned earlier. In other words, these players just got drunk after the match. However, two days later, when they appeared on the training, their form was still at the highest level. As if nothing happened. Based on this study, it can be concluded that if your liver is working properly and you give yourself a few days rest after drinking, your form should not suffer. However, it is important these few days break!


How beer and wine affect the loss of body fat

When we talk about alcohol and fat loss it gets a bit complicated. You have to take into account various factors, such as calories, under what circumstances alcohol is consumed, etc. When we remember the metabolism of alcohol, we know that it has a high thermal effect and the “storage” of alcohol is very energy-consuming. When acetate and acylcoenzyme A appear in the body, they turn off the burning of carbohydrates and fats. When carbohydrates or fat are replaced, there is no fat storage effect. Some studies even say that consumption of interest drinks may result in weight loss.

Another thing we need to analyze is how alcohol affects food intake. It seems to be extremely individualized. This means that the natural mechanisms control the amount of food eaten in each person differently. So, some people can eat everything as sober, others only when they drink. The influence of alcohol on appetite may vary depending on its type. There are several rules here. Beer is bitter, and bitter compounds release GLP-1, which suppresses hunger. Beer also reduces cortisol levels in small doses. Higher doses may have the opposite effect. This is important because cortisol is involved in feeling hungry and thirsty and excludes motivational centers in the brain. It can also be associated with hop contained in beer, which as a herb has a calming effect.


Red wine contains histamine, which raises cortisol levels. So it is associated with increased appetite.

It seems obvious that every alcohol will eventually increase cortisol levels. The effects simply depend on time. Alcohol also affects the brain by increasing the amount of dopamine in the blood and lowering serotonin. Dopamine is associated with the center of thirst and joy. Its activity raises adrenaline and also reduces melatonin. This can have a negative effect on sleep, which is strongly correlated with an increase in hunger and thirst.

In summary, eating alcohol before a meal increases the amount of food consumed, but it depends on the type of drink. The least harmful option is to consume beer and white wine, then red wine, and finally colorful drinks.


Alcohol and testosterone and other hormones

What is the effect of alcohol consumption on testosterone, estrogen and other hormones? It depends on the quantity and situations in which it is consumed. Intake at 0.5g / kg seems to have little effect on testosterone. Alcohol can vary depending on the type of exercise. Eating it after a hard endurance workout is aggravated by the low testosterone levels that are typical of this type of exercise.

In turn, if alcohol is consumed after strength training at around 1g per kg of body weight, both free and total testosterone levels are even raised!

In addition, most studies on women suggest that alcohol can raise testosterone levels. But taking into account female physiology is not a desirable phenomenon.


The influence of alcohol on the physical form – a summary

Of course, the whole book can be written about the effects of alcohol on the body. Research on this subject is often confusing and contradictory. However, we can make some general assumptions


  • Avoid eating carbohydrates and fat when eating alcohol; stick to protein and vegetables


  • when choosing alcohol, head towards beer and white wine, as it seems that they have a better effect on the appetite



  • alcohol consumption at the limit of 0.5g / kg seems to be a safe threshold from any negative effects associated with muscle wasting, fat accumulation, hormonal disorders and efficiency problems


  • avoid alcohol after cardio training


  • the best time to drink alcohol seems to be the period after strength training, but try to consume no more than 1 g per kg of body weight
Posted on: November 21, 2018

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