Well, if you are concerned about weight loss, or not gaining weight this summertime, Beer is a beverage that has the most significant impact on both!
First let’s look at the five major reasons people gain weight and then look specifically at alcohol consumption..
1) What you eat, poor eating habits such as skipping meals, and bad food combinations.
2) Your genetic and hormonal make-up.
3) Your emotional state: many people “eat their emotions.”
4) Certain medications.
5) What you drink: we’re taking about alcohol here!
The calories in alcohol are considered “empty calories.” This means they provide absolutely no nutritional value and no cell in the body can use ethyl alcohol as a fuel source. Moreover, alcohol is a toxin which the liver must metabolize into non-toxic substances. What happens is that when alcohol enters the blood stream your liver becomes focused on getting rid of this “toxin” and our fat burning is compromised…it slows down your weight loss and facilitates fat storage!
Alcohol contains 7 kcal/gram, so it’s sort of a cross between a carbohydrate (4 kcal/g) and a fat (9 kcal/g). A “shot” (1.5 oz or 45 ml) of 80 proof liquor contains 98 kcal from the alcohol, and the same amount of 100 proof liquor contains 125 kcal from the alcohol (if it’s a sweetened “liqueur,” then there will be way more!). A 6 oz. glass of “dry table wine” contains about 150 kcal, so having ONE glass of wine everyday will add an additional 4500 kcal/month (or over a pound of fat!).
And Then There is Beer!
Beer is perhaps the worst type of alcohol to drink, as far as weight issues are concerned. There are two primary reasons for this: 1) The main sugar in beer is maltose. Maltose is a disaccharide composed of two molecules of glucose…this means it’s very high on the glycemic index and will trigger a “double shot” of insulin! 2) Beer “tastes like more.” It does not quench thirst because alcohol is a diuretic…the more you drink, the more you “pee.” It is not uncommon for some folks to drink three six-packs of beer over the course of a three-hour football game. Try drinking that same amount of water… bet you can’t!
Incidentally this is the same “trick” soft drink companies use: They put large amounts of sodium and caffeine (also a diuretic) in their sodas, thus you never quench your thirst (it actually makes you MORE thirsty) and you drink more.
Alcohol is produced by fermentation involving millions of yeast cells. When these cells die, their DNA and RNA are released in the solution. DNA and RNA supply large amounts of “purines,” which are molecules that will ultimately be metabolized to uric acid (wine and beer, particularly “Weiss” beer [wheat beer] have very large amounts of these).
People with “Syndrome X” generally have higher than normal levels of uric acid in their blood already, so drinking alcohol will further increase this tendency and the risk of gout will go up. Coupled with this, the metabolism of alcohol requires energy (i.e. ATP). When ATP gives up its “energy” (high energy phosphate moieties) AMP is produced. AMP is a purine also, so excessive AMP production will further increase uric acid (fructose can also do this as cells in the body cannot use fructose directly either).
Finally, and perhaps most important, alcohol can inhibit the mechanisms of gluconeogenesis to a significant degree. The body cannot transform the glycerol (produced by alcohol metabolism or contained in the beverage itself) into glucose for use as fuel. Instead, it is converted into triglycerides (fat) and is usually deposited in the liver. As Dr. Tran from Ideal Protein says, “Drinking alcohol is like handing the adipocyte the ingredients to make fat on a silver platter”!
This information is what we share with our Ideal Protein weight loss clients. The link below gives the science behind the mechanism of the inhibition of gluconeogenic activity following alcohol consumption in humans.