I’m not a huge fan of alcohol.

Anyone reading my blogs for some time will already know this.

Do I enjoy a dinner of steak and beer after a full day mowing the lawn in the height of summer?

You better believe it.

Can I sit in a beer garden with a bunch of mates and watch a UFC fight while downing multiple Carona’s?

Unlikely.

For two reasons – one, I’ve got better things to do. And two, after one beer I’m pretty much cactus.

Yep, I’m a one pot screamer and proud of it.

But here’s the thing, when it comes to health, I’ve never meet a man or women in middle age who can be both in good physical shape AND drink beer regularly (or any alcohol for that matter). In our younger days we could probably get away with it but in our march to 50, forget it.

What’s regular you may ask? On average, my straw-poll can reveal – anywhere north of about 5 beers a week for men and about 3 wines a week for women. That’s not to say we should be aiming for this intake AND believe we are still being healthy.

My party-line is that alcohol will always get in the way of your body composition goals, period.

In terms of affecting long-term health, it’s a game-changer.

Most men I know in middle age are overweight and under-potential.

Because of ‘aging’ they can barely walk a hill without puffing like a rhino, kick a ball with their kids or lift their own body weight hanging from a tree branch.

Some are diabetic. Some are even close to a heart attack – complete with flushed face and Rudolf nose.

Sure it might be crappy food, a love affair with the couch and mortgage stress causing it – but the commonality is that they all drink regularly.

This is not a high and mighty judgement call on my part, just an observation.

So what’s wrong with a beer or two?

For starters, alcohol is a toxin. Yep, a poison complete with skull and crossbones logo stamped on the bottle. The crook part is called acetaldehyde which is a toxic by-product of alcohol molecules being broken down so as to be more easily eliminated from the body.   As soon as alcohol enters the bloodstream through your stomach wall the body does it’s damnedest to quickly excrete it. This is so it doesn’t negatively effect vulnerable organs including the kidneys, liver or indeed your brain.

For those who think or indeed been told that alcohol is an anti-oxidant, don’t be fooled into believing it’s the alcohol part that extends life. The healthy bit are the grapes. My advice if you want to increase your antioxidant intake is to just eat grapes!

Want to know why you gain weight with alcohol as a staple?

First and foremost, alcohol is a ‘first to burn’ fuel.  This means the body, recognising acetaldehyde’s toxicity, will shut down all other fuel pathways to quickly rid it from the body. So, if you’re drinking a mixed beverage of say, bourbon and coke, the alcohol will burn first while the 12 teaspoons of sugar in the coke will be shunted from the bloodstream and stored as body fat.

Secondly, alcohol consumption stimulates the appetite sensors of the brain causing an attack of the munchies. This means you’re more likely to reach for just about anything at arms length to satisfy this urge to eat – potato chips, salted peanuts, pretzels etc. again, all of these calories destined for stored body fat.

Your body ain’t dumb – it’ll do what’s necessary to keep you alive and kicking including partitioning and shunting fuel in response to the intake of alcohol.

So if you think you can remain true to being your healthiest AND drink alcohol on a regular basis – think again. My advice – enjoy a beer or wine on one day of the week and commit to a dry month at least once a year. In this case, less is always better than more.

Even I can drink to that.