How to stay fit & strong during the holidays? Limit your alcohol intake!

The holiday season is a time for celebration and family, and furthermore represents a time of serious temptation often revolving around alcohol, seasonal treats and parties. Temptation can easily cause one to over indulge, skip the gym and abandon healthy habits, undoing a lot of hard work and time in the gym. Alcohol has been found to be thermogenic, and in moderation has a number of health benefits including improving insulin sensitivity, glycemic control and lowering triglyceride concentrations, and has been found to increase life expectancy compared to non-drinkers. Before you get excited, this is not a green light to go ahead and drink as much alcohol as humanly possible! The intoxicating effects of alcohol often cause disinhibition of dietary control, causing one to overeat- how many late night cravings under the influence of alcohol have you satisfied with McDonalds or KFC? Moreover, alcohol inhibits the break down of fats. Once inside the liver, alcohol is converted to acetate and the oxidation of acetate precedes that of other nutrients as it is toxic. This effect of alcohol causes dietary fats to be stored easily, and copiously when your dietary restraint is jeopardised by intoxication. There are animal studies that suggest alcohol consumption negatively effects protein synthesis. More recently, alcohol has been found to impair protein synthesis in cultured skeletal muscle cells, without altering basal protein degradation. So if you are going to lash out and have a few drinks, we suggest you keep it moderate. Stick to spirits and dry wines as these are lower in calories compared to sweetened alcoholic beverages and beer and avoid mixing spirits with sweetened soft drink and juices, instead opt for diet soft drink, soda water, or drink them straight.

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