Can Alcohol Be a Roadblock to a Fast Metabolism?

An alcoholic drink now and then shouldn’t hurt you — but it also doesn’t help. Here’s a rundown on how alcohol affects your metabolism, and some tips for minimizing the damage.

Consider taking a break from booze

The best way to go is to avoid alcohol. Frankly, it’s an enormous pain in the metabolism. First, it makes a terrible nuisance of itself in your liver—the organ that’s supposed to be burning fat for you. Your liver also has a second job: ridding your body of chemicals (like alcohol). Every time you swallow a drink, your liver has to take time off from its fat-burning job while it evicts the chemical intruder.

Second, alcohol gives you a sugar rush—the last thing you need if you’re trying to shed fat. Alcohol converts to sugar and dumps itself into your bloodstream so fast, your body desperately races to stash it somewhere it can’t do any harm … in your fat cells.

Bottom line:  If you’re trying to boost your metabolism, shed toxins, and lose weight, give the booze a break. Now your body can concentrate on creating the naturally speedy metabolism you want.

And if you do indulge…

Even if you’re not tee-totaling completely, there are some ways to get smarter about indulging in a drink. Here’s how:

  •  Stick with just the occasional drink. One drink per week probably won’t make any difference in your metabolism. Several drinks per week will probably take a noticeable toll, though.
  • Organic, sulfite-free wine is the best choice. It places the least burden on your liver. If you prefer a cocktail, go for the good stuff—top-shelf liquors (especially clear ones) with no fake colors or additives. The fewer chemicals slamming your liver at once, the better.
  • Munch protein with your drink—a clean, substantial protein. Beef, pork loin, chicken, turkey, and seafood are all good bets. This keeps your blood sugar calm. Your body will store your margarita as glycogen for muscle energy—not as fat.
  • Sip an extra 8 ounces of water for every alcoholic drink. That’s on top of your regular daily water intake (half your body weight in ounces of water). Booze dehydrates you—and every time your body senses a water shortage, it quits burning fat. Your kidneys figure there’s not enough fluid around to flush away the toxic byproducts of fat-burning, so they call a halt. Extra water soothes your kidneys and feeds your metabolism.

Keep your metabolic fire roaring, and you’ll be able to relax with a beer, a glass of wine or a cocktail every now and then—without pouring it straight into your fat cells.