How alcohol really affects your diet

Health and fitness expert Ryan Donohue, of Fitness Formation, in Lancaster
Health and fitness expert Ryan Donohue, of Fitness Formation, in Lancaster
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As fitness professionals, one of the biggest aspects of our job role is to help to provide guidance on nutrition and this can often encroach on the subject of alcohol.

This week we’re going to look into the subject of alcohol consumption and its effects on our ability to get the results that we crave.
One of the first things that needs to be taken into account when evaluating the behaviours of an individual in relation to alcohol is to where, how and why it plays a role in their lifestyle. Excessive consumption can and will hinder long-term results but we need to understand why a client would like to continue to drink alcohol as part of their lifestyle. The drinking of alcohol is not as black and white as it may seem as the overall consumption in terms of units drank will have a differing set of consequences dependent on volume.
It’s common knowledge that alcohol can make us feel terrible and the continuous pattern of regular consumption will hinder both progress and performance.
Alcohol contains seven calories per gram. It does, contrary to popular belief, contain an element of usable energy but we don’t actually need it. Alcohol is the first macronutrient the body will use as an available fuel source based on your ability to store it (energy) for use at a later time.
In terms of overall body composition, a little alcohol can be accounted for by dropping a little from your carbs or fats without it having any drastic effect on your results.
One of the things that is far too common in a direct link to alcohol consumption is the choices we make in relation to food. It’s usually foods that are highly calorific yet contain very little nutrient density.
You won’t often see someone chowing down on a well balanced plate of food after a night out. Drinking in large quantities will, in most cases, lead to an excess in calories and if this is a regular pattern, will lead to an increase in fat.
Another point to remember is that different drinks yield different calorie values. Drinks with added sugar can often mean you consume an extra 30 - 60 calories. The take-away point is that alcohol consumption in a controlled manner is fine, but be aware of the consequences of continuously over doing it.