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Alcohol, diet and sports triangle

Monday, September 6, 2021


You doing sports and also drink alcohol. I’m sure you think sports and alcohol go together. In this article, I will talk about the processing process of alcohol in your body, the effect of alcohol on muscle development, alcohol and exercise performance, and how to apply the training timing after drinking alcohol.

Digestion and excretion of alcohol

With alcohol consumption, it quickly reaches the stomach through the mouth, pharynx and esophagus. When a small amount is absorbed in the stomach, it reaches the small intestine, which is the main absorption area. About 80% of alcohol is absorbed in the small intestine. The rest is absorbed by other digestive system tissues, mainly stomach.

Stomach fullness is an important factor in the alcohol absorption process. For this reason, although the absorption zones do not change, the satiety / hunger state changes the time and intensity of alcohol into the blood.

Then the alcohol mixed into the blood reaches the cells. Approximately 10% of the alcohol that must reach the liver in order to be broken down is excreted through the lungs and kidneys.

Liver’s role in alcohol digestion

In the liver, ethanol is broken down into acetaldehyde and then converted into acetate and acetyl-CoA. Acetate and acetyl-CoA are disposable or used as energy. I will not open the term of being used as energy here. Because I will examine many of its effects under the heading of alcohol and diet.

Alcohol and diet

Each gram of alcohol is about 7 calories. If that doesn’t make sense, a gram of alcohol contains about two grams of carbohydrates, two grams of protein, or about one gram of fat. Moreover, it does not contain any nutrients.

Since we pay attention not only to numerical values but also to the nutritional values it provides while calculating the calorie amount, the calories taken with alcohol will be completely excessive and will not change the amount of calories you will take to meet your daily nutritional needs.

Fat storage

Acetate and acetyl-CoA make alcohol a fat storage medium. If the concentration of acetate and acetyl-CoA increases in the body, this causes your cells to store fat.

As you can see, the problem is not just calories consumed with alcohol. Even if you regulate your calorie intake, alcohol, due to its nature, forces your body to store fat.

Being overly hungry

As we stated in the previous article, alcohol forces the body to store fat. This naturally means the withdrawal of glucose waiting for energy production inside the cell and its storage as fat. As a result, your blood sugar will drop in this process and you will feel very hungry.

Fluid loss

Alcohol passes easily into the brain tissue. In this way, it suppresses the ADH hormone that controls fluid excretion in the brain. Thus, more urine output is provided. It doesn’t end with that. Continuous urine production causes you to lose more minerals. The lost minerals cause fluid to pass from the cells to the blood. So you lose more fluid. As a result, fluid loss damages your diet by disrupting both the fat burning processes of the cells and the cleansing processes.

Alcohol and sports

Alcohol and exercise performance

There are two different aspects in alcohol and exercise performance. One is acute (immediate) and the other is the effect of chronic (continuous) alcohol intake on exercise.

Alcohol instantly reduces exercise performance. As we talked about before, alcohol intake affects your body in several different ways. If you exercise after drinking alcohol.

Your affected nervous system cannot contract and manage your muscles fast enough, strong and coordinated,
Your cells lose fluid, energy production and life functions slow down. In intensive exercise, his endurance and strength decrease,
Fluctuating blood sugar can make you feel weak and cause sudden performance changes.
Matters such as directly affect your performance.

Researches also confirm this. Professional athletes are taken into research to test the exercise performance, cognitive functions and effect of alcohol intake. Athletes are divided into two groups. The first group drinks vodka and orange juice, one gram of alcohol per kilo, while the second group consumes only orange juice. Two and sixteen hours after consumption, the maximum voluntary muscle contraction force is measured.

After the measurements, all data, especially voluntary muscle contraction, show acute deterioration due to alcohol.

Alcohol doesn’t alter long-term exercise performance. Alcohol consumption does not change your exercise performance after a few days. What you need to be careful about here is that we are based on a one-time alcohol intake. If you drink alcohol constantly, your exercise performance will decrease over time.

Carbohydrate stores and alcohol during the performance process

One of the important variables in terms of performance is carbohydrate. After seeing how important carbohydrate loading is in performance, we see that alcohol slows down the replenishment of carbohydrate stores in muscles after exercise.

Alcohol and muscle growth

Muscle development is closely related to hormonal balance. For this reason, we will talk about the subject again in the title of alcohol, sports and hormonal change.

While growth hormone and testosterone, which are very important in muscle development, decrease with alcohol intake, cortisol, which is one of the main responsibilities of muscle destruction, increases with alcohol. This explains how badly alcohol intake affects muscle development.

As we talked about before, another factor is fluid loss. Like other cells, most of the muscle cells are made up of water. Thus, the important point here is the activity of the muscle cell. If some amount of the muscle cell fluid is lost with alcohol, the contraction force of the cell decreases. Growth decreases with the reduced contractile power and the response it creates to exercise. In addition, even though the growth order is given, since the right environment with sufficient fluid is not formed in the cell, growth reactions slow down. In addition, studies reveal that alcohol taken with foods reduces muscle growth rate.

In terms of growth, it is also very important that melatonin hormone increases the release of growth hormone. Alcohol consumed reduces the melatonin hormone. Decreasing melatonin hormone decreases growth hormone levels by altering sleep quality and deep sleep duration.

As a result, alcohol slows down and prevents muscle growth through many different mechanisms.

Alcohol, sports, and hormonal change

Alcohol intake alters many hormone levels. Let’s explain these changes one by one.

Cortisol hormone increases with alcohol intake. New tissue production decreases. Demolition and oil production increases.
Estrogen hormone increases with alcohol intake. Biological features specific to the female gender occur in men.
Growth hormone decreases with alcohol intake. New tissue development is reduced. The anabolic window shrinks.
Insulin hormone increases with alcohol intake. Blood sugar decreases.
LH hormone decreases with alcohol intake. Testosterone production is reduced.
Testosterone hormone decreases with alcohol intake. Muscle build speed and masculine characters are reduced.
Melatonin hormone decreases with alcohol intake. Sleep quality decreases.

In fact, a very simple message emerges with this table. As I explained above, alcohol reduces the performance, regenerative power and endurance ability of people who do sports.

Alcohol use and doing sports

It is very important to wait at least two days after drinking alcohol to rehydrate your body and wait for hormonal balances to return. If you are a chronic or heavy alcohol consumer, you may need to rest for more than two days.

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