THE FESTIVE TIPPLE
The essential guide to choosing your drinks
The not-so-good news before you let loose is that alcohol isn’t your bestie when it comes to losing weight – and that’s not just because it’s high in kilojoules, at 29kj per gram (compare that to 17kj per gram of protein or carbohydrate). Alcohol actually gets in the way of your body using other sources of energy for fuel.
“It’s a toxic molecule and our body doesn’t have a storage place for it. Due to this, the body is forced to prioritise the breakdown and removal of alcohol over the metabolism of all other macro-nutrients such as fat and carbohydrates,” says accredited practising dietitian Anna-jane Debenham.
“While our body is processing alcohol, it stops processing fat, and sometimes this can be for hours after drinking,” adds accredited practising dietitian Alexandra Parker. “For those who drink regularly, the body starts to recognise alcohol as a consistent energy source and over time may start to promote body fat storage rather than processing it. is is where the term ‘beer gut’ comes from, as the most common site of fat storage is around your mid-section.”
ere are other reasons to be smart about alcohol too. “Drinking impairs brain function and leads to poor judgement and bad decision-making,” says Dr Helena Popovic, a GP and leading expert on brain function. “You might walk into a party thinking, ‘I’m going to stick to my diet,’ but after a few drinks your willpower might falter.”
en there’s alcohol’s disruptive effect on sleep. “e minute you don’t sleep well or are sleep-deprived, it interferes with your hormone regulation so you will wake up feeling hungrier,” Dr Popovic says. is is because you’ll have higher levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin and stress hormone cortisol, and lower levels of satiety hormone leptin, “all of which work against you making healthy food choices, and drive you to eat sugary, fatty foods.” >