Building muscle mass, dealing with cortisol, a strong immune system, quality sleep, feeling good and being physically fit are the reasons why we exercise, go to the gym, etc. By consuming alcohol, it is possible to turn all these advantages into disadvantages.


In this article, I will explain why alcohol and healthy lifestyles are incompatible.


Empty calories


Alcohol is called an empty calorie – it is very expensive to process it in the body, while the body does not get any nutritional value from it. Alcohol does not provide beneficial vitamins, beneficial fats or amino acids. It is literally an empty calorie, meaning that the body has nothing to do with it.


A simple example: when you eat chicken, you get protein from it, and that protein goes to build muscles. When you consume alcohol, all other processes in the body stop, as the body’s priority is to get rid of the poison. Absorption of nutrients, fat processing, muscle mass growth stops.


In addition, drinking alcohol slows down weight loss, as it is still excess energy.


Constant alcohol consumption promotes the deposition of fat in the middle of the body – also called the beer belly. This type of fat can be particularly harmful because it surrounds important organs inside the abdomen.


When working out and losing weight, you get to the point where you start critically monitoring what you eat, but drinking doesn’t seem to come into focus. The following calculation illustrates how many extra calories are in one good party. Let’s compare it to a loaf of bread…


Janar Rückenberg wrote on the website about the calculation process – the caloric intake during a proper party. His result was 9000 kcal, which equals to 1 kg of fat.



Seems scary? Let’s take a closer look!

100 grams of 40% vodka equals to 230 kcal. 0.5 liters (500 g) of 40% vodka equals to 1150 kcal. Let’s compare it to food.

0.5 liters of vodka (1150 kcal) = a large 500 gram bread (1300 kcal) = 200 grams of chocolate (1100 kcal)

And we are talking about only 0.5 liters of vodka… Big men 90 kg+ will not even get tipsy from such a small quantity. 1 liter of vodka is already 2300 kcal (400 g of chocolate) and it is not a problem for big men to finish it. We also cannot forget that people don’t consume only vodka at the party. Usually vodka is mixed with juice, and at the same time you also snack. All in all, one good night out can be extra 3000-5000 kcal of energy, which is usually the daily caloric intake of a large 100 kg man.

Typically, parties take place in the evening and you have most probably eaten during the day. Most probably you have consumed around 2500-3000 kcal during the day + all the calories to be consumed at the party.

If you are a serioushardcore party animal, then one party means a lot of extra energy for your body, if you also aren’t physically active. 2500-3000 kcal (during the day) + 3000-5000 kcal (at the party) = 5500-8000 kcal. 1 kg fat = 9000 kcal.




An attack on the gut


Processing alcohol has devastating effects on our digestive system.


Alcohol destroys microflora in our digestive system and promotes inflammation. Continuous alcohol consumption promotes leaky gut and changes the microflora, allowing the bacteria in the gut to reach the bloodstream. Our immune system responds to these bacteria by releasing pro-inflammatory cytokines. The pro-inflammatory cytokines now circulating in our bodies can reach the central nervous system and cause neuroinflammation, which is directly related to changes in mood and behavior.


Abstinence from alcohol, as well as the consumption of probiotics and prebiotics (dairy products and foods with a high fiber content) help restoring the gut microbiome.



High cortisol levels


Alcohol increases the level of cortisol, also known as the “stress hormone”. Cortisol is part of the body’s natural response system and is produced when we experience stress, fear or anxiety.


When we consume alcohol, our body starts producing cortisol even when we are not actually stressed. Excessive alcohol consumption damages liver function and can therefore reduce the body’s ability to deal with cortisol. Therefore, people feel stress and anxiety even 1-2 days after consuming alcohol.


Studies have shown that it is not how often you drink alcohol, but how much. For example, harmful effects of alcohol for women start from consuming 24 g of pure alcohol. 24 g of pure alcohol = 2 liters 4.5% beer or 300 ml wine.



Decreased sleep quality


Studies have shown that those who drink alcohol before bed fall asleep faster. However, the quality of their sleep deteriorates significantly.


As liver enzymes metabolize alcohol during the night and blood alcohol levels gradually decrease, all stages of sleep are disrupted. In addition, the breakdown of alcohol in the body causes more frequent urination, so waking up is inevitable. As a result, after consuming alcohol, we wake up more often during the night and are more tired in the morning.




Most of us are “rewarded” with a headache after drinking alcohol. It is related to poor sleep quality and the fact that our body is exhausted from breaking down alcohol.


Another reason lies in changes in the blood vessels. Depending on the amount, our blood vessels become wider or narrower when we consume alcohol. If you drink little, they become wider, and if you drink more, they become narrower. However, both affect negatively blood pressure, leading to headaches and poor health.





We have been talking about the negative side effects of alcohol, perhaps the worst of them is addiction.


Like any substance, alcohol is addictive.


If alcohol is causing you health problems and is ruining your relationships, it is time to reduce the consumtion or quit drinking. You can test and control your own alcohol consumption HERE.


You can find helpHERE.