The reality is that alcohol is a simple sugar, in fact the simplest sugar there is. While most sugars have to travel to the intestinal tract to be absorbed, alcohol can be absorbed through the stomach wall, so you can take a few shots and feel it relatively quickly.

While most sugars produce 4 calories per gram, alcohol produces 7, and they’re basically worthless calories. They are easily converted to triglycerides and stored as fat. Sugar also affects the balance of insulin, so it can’t release stored fat. End result over time = beer belly.

Worst of all, about 90 to 120 minutes after consuming a fair amount of alcohol, your blood sugar drops, your body sends out these little chemical signals (neurotransmitters) that try to lead you to the foods that will reset your mood. blood sugar quickly. That’s why you end up at Denny’s or Jack in the Box at 3 AM.

Trick #1 is, of course, to limit alcohol consumption to one day per week (cheat day). You can’t gain weight in a day, and if you spend six days a week revving up your metabolism, your body will learn to burn. . . . right . . . even a Denny’s meal from time to time. If Trick #1 seems too restrictive, that doesn’t mean you can’t do this. There are some steps you can take that will prevent the negative effects of alcohol on your body.

First, if you’re planning to have a full meal, consisting of a good amount of protein and some complex carbohydrates (like a chicken breast and a potato) an hour beforehand will allow you to get to those quality nutrients before they run out. calories hit the bloodstream. Because protein has a “thermal” effect (producing heat or burning calories), it will slow down the metabolic slowdown that drinking on an empty stomach will cause and help put your body in a state where you’re more likely to burn at least some of those calories from alcohol as energy. It may also be beneficial to swallow two carb-blocking tablets about 30 minutes before drinking. These are carb binders that inhibit amylase enzymes that convert excess sugar to fat, reducing the likelihood that alcohol will be stored as body (read: belly) fat. It’s also best to eat something sugar-free along with alcohol to lessen the rush of sugars from alcohol into your bloodstream. Some low-fat Doritos made exclusively from corn and some chicken wings can help reduce the sugar rush (if consumed along with alcohol and, of course, not excessively).

Finally, the “post drink” meal should be preceded by plenty of water, even if you are not thirsty. This will minimize the dehydration that makes hangovers much worse, and should include sugar-free and low-fat foods. I know that when you have those post-drink cravings, the little voice begs you to have a chili cheeseburger, fries, and a chocolate milkshake, but I assure you, if you can discipline yourself, go for an egg white omelette with a little whole grain toast or a grilled chicken breast and potato, after the meal your cravings will pass. Your blood sugar will begin to stabilize.

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