Why Drinking While Eating Is Causing You To Store Fat

nutrition weight loss Jul 17, 2018

It's summer 2018 baby!! I'm riding high (but sober) on the long, hot days that seem to be strung together with work days being the only thing keeping me from living on a beach 24/7.

I've gotten to a place where I don't drink and don't feel the need to in order to have a fantastic time. It's taken me a long time to get here and I have to admit, it's a pretty cool feeling! Especially because there once was a time when I wouldn't be able to dance, meet new people or simply speak my mind without the use of alcohol. 

For me, this is freedom, but for many of my clients and readers, it's bullshit. 

People love to drink! And trust me, I get it. Alcohol is fun, it can feel really good and can also be a hobby (hello wine enthusiasts!).

Who wants to go to a patio or house party and drink Pellegrino all night while watching others get lubed up, flirt, tell jokes and be their uninhibited, fabulously fun selves without getting in on the action? 

Well, me. And maybe some others who find happiness in just observing and tap into the fun sans alcohol. Rare, but it does happen! 

Point is, people drink. People who want to eat well, lose weight, invest their time in the gym and be healthy, drink! 

Those people also know that alcohol is loaded with sugar and they will usually also be taking inventory of their alcohol consumption and food intake while out being social in hopes to reduce the negative impact on their body composition goals (that's you, right?). 

Choosing alcohol that's lower in sugar is always a good bet. Skip the rum and coke and go for the vodka soda or glass of wine (they have antioxidants after all!). 

But what if you're drinking the lowest sugary drinks and still your body is packing on fat that could be avoided? 

This leads me to today's topic: Oxidative priority. 

Oxidative priority is the process and order in which the body chooses to metabolize toxins and macronutrients.

1. Alcohol

The liver will process alcohol first (over protein, carbs and fats) because we have no way of storing alcohol, plus it is a toxin so the body will metabolize that first.  

2. Proteins

The body has the ability to store roughly 480 kcals in the blood and in tissue.  Not a ton of storage capability so the body will process proteins next as it has limited capability of storing that nutrient. 

3. Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose and can be stored in the blood and in the liver as glycogen. The body is capable of storing about 1200 - 200kcals, anything above that will be converted to and stored as fat. 

4. Fat 

There is unlimited capacity to store fat in the body. Fat that isn't used as energy will be stored in adipose tissue and can stay there indefinitely. 

So basically, the body will process alcohol first, always. Because there is no storage capacity for alcohol and it's a toxin, the body will store the other nutrients as fat when exposed to them with the intake of alcohol. 

Remember, alcohol will always be processed first. 

So if you're on a patio, blood sugar is low, you order a beer and a meal know that that meal will be automatically stored as fat because of the alcohol intake as per oxidative priority.  

 So What Can You Do?

Well, in a perfect world you would drink the alcohol completely separate from food. 

So drink your alcohol separately from your food! 

I know, weird. A lot of people love to enjoy a glass of wine with their meal or an aperitif immediately post-eating. I get it, it's change and may kind of suck at first - BUT, if you're serious about keeping your body composition in check then these are the small shifts that need to happen to see and maintain positive change. 

How Long To Wait To Eat After Drinking?

Once alcohol has entered your bloodstream, your body will begin to metabolize it at a rate of 20 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) per hour.

That means that if your blood alcohol level were 40 mg/dL, it would take about two hours to metabolize the alcohol. 

Your best bet? Eat a meal before you head out to drink. Give your body about 2 hours to process that meal, then feel free to drink your fave cocktail, wine or beer. 

Hungry again after drinking? Of course you are! Your blood sugar is going to drop so I'd suggest waiting, if possible, another 2 hours after your last drink to eat a meal. 

And of course, always hydrate with water and lemon while drinking alcohol. 

I'm a firm believer that everyone should be able to live a balanced and fulfilling life, alcohol, workouts, body composition management etc., can all have a place in your daily regime. 

It's about getting educated, making a commitment then getting into action. 

Have more questions about nutrition and how to get in the best shape of your life? Reach out learn more about how I can help you achieve your wildest dreams <3

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Be well with Hope,
Cassandra Hope


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