The es­sen­tial guide to choos­ing your drinks

Weight Watchers Magazine (Australia) - - News -

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. ˆis is where the term ‘beer gut’ comes from, as the most com­mon site of fat stor­age is around your mid-sec­tion.”

ˆere 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.”

ˆen there’s al­co­hol’s dis­rup­tive ef­fect on sleep. “ˆe 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. ˆis 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.” >

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