Is drinking alcohol okay?

I’m going to answer this strictly from a fitness perspective without a discussion of the moral dilemmas some people have regarding alcohol (i.e. what baptists believe; why alcoholics need to avoid it; drinking & driving; etc… those are all separate issues). 

 First of all, let me just say that there are 7 calories in every gram of alcohol.  These are empty, non-nutritious calories.  Obviously, if you are watching your weight, this isn’t a good scenario.  Almost every calorie in a low-calorie diet should count, nutritionally speaking.  Another reason weight-watchers should avoid alcohol is because it causes a release of insulin that will “increase the metabolism of glycogen, thereby sparing fat, resulting in more difficult fat loss” (quoted from Fitness:  The Complete Guide, p. 8.4).

The negative side effects of alcohol far outweigh any positives.  First, it is a toxin (poison), so a lot of physical abnormalities can occur; these abnormalities “can reduce your strength, endurance, recovery capabilities, aeorobic capacity, ability to metabolize fat, and muscle growth”.  (quoted from Fitness: The Complete Guide, p. 8.39).  It can also affect your nervous system and brain.  Long-term alcohol use can result in central nervous system damage, while short-term use can result in a reduction of nerve-muscle interaction which causes a loss of strength.  Other fitness-related down-sides of alcohol include:  reduced eye-hand coordination and balance, longer recovery periods, & less efficient healing from injuries.  A real bummer is that it can be responsible for sexual dysfunctions like loss of libido, reduced sperm formation, menstrual irregularities, and shrinkage of sexual organs.  Alcohol most of the times makes people experience more muscle soreness following training, which requires additional time for recuperation (i.e.  fewer workouts).  There are many other things alcohol can do like put undue stress on your kidneys and liver; cause several gastric, digestive, and nutritional irregularities; and potentially cause anemia, due to the lack of absorption of nutrients into the body due to the alcohol.

So, the next time you go out at night and are tempted to have a drink, remember these things.  If fitness is a top priority in your life, then you might want to exercise a little discipline in this area. 

One Response to “Is drinking alcohol okay?”

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