A glass of wine is an agreeable treat, and one many Americans indulge in after a long day or a long week. Studies from around the world have even espoused red wine’s healthful benefits, such as improved heart health and longevity. Yet for all the positives we think are associated with wine, the fact remains that wine, and more generally alcohol, is a poison. Indeed, it is a poison that forces the liver to work overtime to mop it up out of the blood stream. Because of this, even one glass of wine, or one beer, or one stiff drink can be the difference between progress and a fitness plateau. Here are five way alcohol is sabotaging you fitness goals.
Alcohol slows down your liver’s metabolism
Since the liver is responsible for removing toxins from the body, even small amounts of alcohol can trigger metabolic changes. One glass of wine will slow the liver down for numerous hours after consumption, and regular drinking can alter its overall function. With a slower metabolic rate, the liver does not perform its other duties — such as building muscle, burning fat, and regulating hormones — nearly as efficiently as when no alcohol is present.
Alcohol is pure sugar
Think back to how long it took to burn 500 calories on the treadmill. 30 minutes? 1 hour? At a rate of 500 extra calories per day, you will burn one pound of fat every week, assuming you work out every day. Throw in one glass of wine, and you will have consumed more than half of your deficit. Throw in the metabolic slowdown and that one glass of wine can essentially undo the hard work you have put in at the gym.
Alcohol prevents the synthesis of new proteins
The liver is an essential organ that is the king of all things fitness. Need more muscle? Ask the liver. Need to burn more fat? Keep the liver happy. With this in mind, it is important to understand that even in moderate amounts, drinking alcohol can stop the liver from doing it’s normal job. One of these jobs is the synthesis of new proteins. This task allows the liver to send proteins to your muscles to be repaired after exercise. This process is also responsible from building muscle. Preventing this process from happening by drinking a glass of wine not only stops tissues from repairing as well from exercise, but also prevents new muscle from being built.
Alcohol impacts hormone balance
The liver is an instrumental player in the regulation of hormones, including testosterone, estrogen, and cortisol. What the liver mostly does is to eliminate excesses of estrogen and cortisol. But when the liver is busy mopping up alcohol in the blood stream, it neglects this important duty. The result is more of the inflammation-based hormones like cortisol, and less of the good stuff, like testosterone.
Alcohol may increase your risk of certain forms of cancer
Let’ be frank: most people participate in fitness programs to be healthier and lower their chances of developing vascular disease and cancer. Yet alcohol consumption, even in moderate amounts, has been linked to an elevated risk of certain forms of cancer. And while we’re being frank, most of us don’t just stick to one glass of wine. What, then, to do about your craving for wine? It’s ok to have one glass or pint to unwind, but any more than that will ruin the work you’re putting in at the gym to live healthier.