Can You Have Your Alcohol And Drink It Too?

Alcohol and Fitness

Alcohol has some benefits but are the negatives worth it?

There are days when nothing feels better than to kick back with a glass of red wine or an ice cold beer.

The problem is when these days turn into weeks.

Remember the idea of a “six pack” doesn’t come with the brand “Heineken”.

No product has probably undergone as much scrutiny as alcohol.

Over the years, we’ve come across studies that promote the benefits of alcohol as there have been those that report its health risks.

But are these studies simply validating bad behavior or are there really health benefits to drinking alcohol?

And will these benefits justify having a few drinks without affecting your fitness goals?

First, let us discuss the benefits of drinking alcohol…

Benefits Of Alcohol

Red Wine

  • Contains resveratrol which has been studied to lower bad cholesterol, protect the heart and other age-related conditions.
  • Contains polyphenols which protect teeth from gum disease.
  • Strengthens immune system; a study from the Journal of Epidemiology shows that people who drank red wine had 44% less incidence of colds.
  • Contains quercetin, a compound which has been studied to reduce the risk of lung cancer.

Beer

  • Contains vitamin B and fibre.
  • A study in Italy showed beer drinkers have 42% lower risk of heart disease than non-beer drinkers.
  • Dutch study on 38,000 males showed that beer drinkers were less likely to develop type II diabetes than non-beer drinkers.
  • A study from Finland showed that beer drinkers were 40% less likely to develop kidney stones.

Now let’s take a look at the negative effects of drinking alcohol…

Negatives Of Alcohol

  • Alcohol slows down metabolism; the body digests alcohol first before the food you had eaten earlier.
  • Interferes with the brain’s communication pathways.
  • Prolonged drinking can overstretch and damage the heart.
  • Heavy drinking can lead to Cirrhosis or liver damage.
  • Consumption of red wine has been linked with an increased risk of breast cancer.
  • Chronic drinkers are highly at risk for tuberculosis and pneumonia.
  • Alcohol has been shown to lower testosterone levels and increase estrogen levels.

There are studies from all over the world that prove there are health benefits to drinking alcohol.

Beer

Which do you want more? Beer or a good body?

But it is also an undeniable fact, that excessive drinking can lead to serious health issues.

Thus, is moderation the key to allowing alcohol in a health and fitness lifestyle?

The experts meaning the doctors, scientists, nutritionists and health professionals will always tell you “moderation is the key”.

Chances are the fittest person you know has a few drinks a week.

Moderation is not enough. You can only mix alcohol with fitness if you have discipline.

People throw around the word “moderation” as if it was only a 2 kilo medicine ball.

But what happens when you are surrounded by others who are not as involved as fitness as you and collectively encourage you to “have another one”?

How strong are you to say, “No”?

Another factor to consider is the nutrient value of the alcohol:

Alcohol Calories Carbohydrates Protein Fat
Red Wine 150 kcal 4.6 grams 0.1 grams 0 grams
Beer 153 kcal 12.6 grams 1.6 grams 0 grams
Whisky 105 grams 0 grams 0 grams 0 grams
Vodka 97 grams 0 grams 0 grams 0 grams

From this short list, it seems that vodka is the least harmful to your fitness goals.

But keep in mind, red wine and beer contain important vitamins, minerals and heart healthy compounds.

The bottom-line is: if you want to kick back and enjoy a few, stay disciplined and keep to the minimum.

What is the minimum?

  • Red Wine – 177 grams or 1 glass
  • Beer – Two 10fl.oz bottles maximum for people up to 85 kilos in bodyweight
  • Spirits – 45 grams or 1 shot

The following day, resume your daily workout routine or perhaps throw in an extra HIIT session!