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Is booze making you fat? Not necessarily

Which is why — contrary to mainstream calorie-themed dogma — there are studies out there that suggest moderate alcohol consumption and fat loss are not mutually exclusive. It may sound surprising, but you really can lose weight while continuing to consume alcohol.

Now, before I continue, a quick disclaimer: we really are talking about moderate alcohol consumption, defined by the ational Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism as “1 drink per day for women and up to 2 drinks per day for men.” Excessive intake has been consistently linked with all kinds of grisly health issues, and is obviously to be avoided. My point is not that you’re free to binge drink to your heart’s content — you’re not, and your heart really wouldn’t thank you anyway — but that, if treated correctly, that bottle of gin or six-pack of ale in your cupboard shouldn’t be as feared as first thought.

So, why does alcohol get such bad press? As far back as 1980, research was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that dubbed alcohol a non-essential nutrient that contains “empty calories”. What this means is that, unlike carbohydrates, fats and proteins, the body has no nutritional need for those shots you had on Friday night. Instead it quickly identifies it as a ‘toxin”, goes into biological overdrive and frantically tries to deal with it. All the time you’re blissfully unaware and on your third round of drinking games with the lads, but your body is basically on red alert.

Next up, scientists from the University of Lausanne in Switzerland proposed the idea that alcohol — and its toxic-like property — is actually guilty of slowing the entire fat burning process. Yet more bad news for ‘calorie counters’ who now live in fear that their bodies are taking a double hit of fat burning suppression and fat accumulation from these “empty calories”.

Cue the widespread vilification of most — if not all — alcoholic drinks. Countless articles have since been published that compares a glass of wine to several large cookies, or likens a pint of Guinness to an entire roast dinner. But to tar all alcoholic drinks with the same calorie-counting brush is wrong.

Measuring alcohol — and all food for that matter — by its caloric content is a flawed approach. It presupposes that the human body only needs food for energy and calories. Not so: the human body is in fact a complex “chemical factory” that processes different food substances in many different ways. Basically calories and energy are not the only things we extract from food and it’s also not the only thing we extract from certain alcoholic drinks…..

The Telegraph: Read the full article