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Healthy Tip #5

Coach Caron shares her 5th easy nutrition tip.


Alcohol use is something that has become almost as acceptable as eating and breathing. During the COVID-19 pandemic, people may experience higher levels of stress, depression, and anxiety which may cause some people to consume more alcohol than they usually would.

However, alcohol has well-documented deleterious effects such as diminished performance, mental impairment, possible addiction, diabetes and liver disease, worsening of existing mental health issues, sleep disruption, lower testosterone and the impairment of the immune system. These could all be seen as good reasons to steer clear of it.

Another effect alcohol has is its impact on body composition. In its purest form, ethyl alcohol, supplies seven calories per gram, nearly double that of protein and carbohydrates. Unlike macronutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins and fats, alcohol supplies empty calories: calories without nutrition. To make matters worse, it is the first fuel to be used when combined with carbohydrates, fats and proteins, postponing the fat-burning process and contributing to greater fat storage.

Alcohol tends to have an appetite-stimulating effect as it provides little in the way of nutrition, leading to cravings for other foods while you are drinking.  Add to this a decrease in inhibition that generally comes with drinking and you may end up eating more fatty foods in addition to the empty alcohol calories. 

Alcohol is a by-product of yeast digestion and it can have an irritating effect on the lining of the stomach and can lead to decreased digestive secretions and movement of food through the tract. A weakening of the stomach will lessen the rate and efficiency at which food is digested, which ultimately interferes with a healthy metabolism.

Alcohol also causes a gradual weakening of the kidneys and liver, leading to serious health problems. The primary role of your liver is to act as the “filter” for any foreign substances that enter your body, such as drugs and alcohol. The liver also plays a role in the metabolism of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. 

Around 98% of alcohol that is consumed is processed in the liver, with the other 2% being expelled through urine, breathing, or sweat. The amount of alcohol in a standard drink will take around 10 hours for the average person to process, which means the more that is consumed at any one point, the greater the rise in blood alcohol content. 

Excess alcohol consumption can lead to what is known as alcoholic fatty liver. This condition can damage your liver, affecting the way your body metabolizes and stores carbohydrates and fats. Changes in the way your body stores energy from food can make it difficult to lose weight.

There are many improvements to your overall health that can be gained by cutting out alcohol.  Give it at least a week and share with us how you feel.