Alcohol and Ketosis
Have you ever stopped to think about society’s love for alcohol and that alcohol is the ONLY drug that you have to justify not using. I am always asked why I don’t drink and the truth is for many reasons.
I once had a client who told me he HAD to have a few glasses of wine in the evening so he would blow ketones in the morning and if he didn’t drink, ketones were not present. UM, WHAT? Yep, he was right. A breath ketone tester is a lot like the breathalyzer that police use. Which made me think if someone in ketosis gets pulled over and asked to blow in a breathalyzer would they be in trouble just for being in ketosis?… So what about ‘Alcohol and Ketosis’?
But the truth is alcohol does not help you get into ketosis if anything alcohol is holding you back from your best self. Not only physically but mentally.
When people go on a diet, they often choose the “light” version of their favorite alcoholic beverages in order to save a few calories. However, that is only a small piece of the puzzle. Fat metabolism is reduced by as much as 73% after only two alcoholic beverages. This scary fact shows that the primary effect of alcohol on the body is not so much how many calories we consume, but how it stops the body’s ability to use your fat stores for energy.
Muscle Tip: Drinking alcohol is the most efficient way to slash your testosterone levels; women…we don’t want this to happen either. Just a single event of serious drinking raises levels of the muscle-wasting stress hormone called cortisol and decreases the levels of testosterone for up to 24 hours. If you are working out to build strong fat-burning muscles yet consuming alcohol, this actually breaks down muscle further and you end up with a slower metabolism. This is because you break down muscle as you lift weights and you repair them as you rest if you have proper hormone levels…if not, you never repair your muscles properly!
Alcohol in the body is converted into a substance called acetate. Unlike a car that uses one supply of fuel, the body is able to draw from carbohydrates, fats and proteins for energy. When your blood acetate levels increase, your body uses acetate instead of fat. To make matters worse, the more you drink the more you tend to eat; and unfortunately, drinking will make your liver work to convert the alcohol into acetate, which means that the foods you consume at this time will be converted into extra fat on your body.If that didn’t sound bad enough; alcohol stimulates appetite and decrease your testosterone levels for up to 24 hours and increases estrogen by 300%. The infamous “beer belly” is really just an “estrogen belly.” Biochemically, the higher your level of estrogen is, the more readily you absorb alcohol, but the slower you break it down.
Also, we all know that alcohol dehydrates us. In order for fat to be metabolized, it must first be released from the fat cell and then be transported by the bloodstream where it is pushed to the liver to be used as fuel. If you are dehydrated, the liver has to come to the aid of the kidneys and can’t focus on its role of releasing fat.
Alcohol affects every organ of the body, its most dramatic impact is upon the liver. The liver cells normally prefer fatty acids as fuel, and package excess fatty acids as triglycerides, which they then route to other tissues of the body. However, when alcohol is present, the liver cells are forced to first metabolize the alcohol, letting the fatty acids accumulate in huge amounts. Alcohol metabolism permanently changes liver cell structure, which impairs the liver’s ability to metabolize fats, which causes fatty liver disease.
To read more, check out my book:
The Complete Guide to Success on The Ketogenic Diet, including Simplified Science and No-cook Meal Plans
This book is really amazing and a complete guide to everything you need to heal and reach your weight loss goals. It breaks down all the latest science and information into very easy to digest pieces. It breaks through the keto myths and keeps you from going down the wrong path. Some of the topics discussed are:
- How manipulation by the sugar industry resulted in decades of fearing fat.
- How to look for root causes of disease instead of putting bandaids on symptoms (prescriptions).
- What tests are good markers for health and longevity.
- How our bodies really work including oxidative priority, fat flux, lipolysis and the reasons for metabolic disfunction.
- What is a well formulated ketogenic diet and how to figure out your own optimal macro ranges based on your body and your goals.
- All about our hormones and how they affect our bodies, moods and more.
- How to modify keto or add to it for healing from specific diseases and chronic illness.
- Including thyroid, Crohn’s, blood pressure, gout, acid reflux, IBS, gallbladder, gastric bypass, acne and eczema, depression and anxiety, fertility, Alzheimer’s, menopause, bone health, cancer, chronic pain, diabetes (1 and 2) and much more!
- Dispelling common myths and mistakes in a ketogenic diet.
- What are the most nutrient dense foods and why nutrient density matters.
- Fasting, both intermittent and long term and how to do it properly.
- Exercise and Keto Athletes.
- Complete pantry list and TWO 7 day no cook meal plans (one is dairy and nut free!).
- Additional tips and methods for healing at a cellular level.
I find if very interesting that 25% of the alcoholic patients in a particular treatment center in MN have gone through weight loss surgery.
Alcohol and sugar addiction go hand in hand. I have a heavy heart for those with food addictions because, unlike alcohol, food is unavoidable. We need it for survival. Many people claim that you can’t be addicted to sugar, but research has proven that when people binge on carbs (i.e. sugar molecules hooked together in a long chain) and then restrict, the body creates an endogenous opioid. It is released in the body much like the chemicals released when people are doing other drugs. PET and CAT scans of food addicts look just about identical to that of drug addicts and alcoholics. What I find really interesting is that “carb-addicts” carry the same D2 dopamine receptor (a gene that identifies addiction); which proves that biochemically, food addiction is just like addiction to other narcotics. A lot of my clients who are in Overeaters Anonymous tell me that they started consuming carbs and sugar just as if it were alcohol. Click HERE for reference.
The problem is that we see alcoholics as having a problem, but desiring carbs and sugar is seen as “normal” and is just a part of the typical American diet. This reminds me of one of my clients who lived in England for 10 years. Her boss came to her and had an intervention with her, claiming that she had a food addiction and the company paid for her to go to treatment. She told me how in England, they saw her problem and how it effected her work, but now that she is in the U.S., she is seen as normal.
I want you to know that there are ways to help your brain chemistry! You do NOT have to suffer from a food addiction or alcohol addiction. Alcohol turns into sugar so alcoholics are naturally drawn to sugar once they quite alcohol. Sugar (and alcohol) blocks serotonin receptors. Leading to more cravings for carbs and alcohol. Do you know where serotonin comes from? Not the brain…it is the intestinal tract. So how can we fix these terrible life-consuming cravings for sugar/alcohol?
I first recommend a quality probiotic. A probiotic supplement helps increase serotonin. Click HERE to find the one I take daily (my kids also take THIS one). 70% of our immune system is in our gut. This is the best thing for anyone who is depressed or dealing with cravings should take.
Another helpful nutrient needed to cut those alcohol and sugar cravings is l-glutamine. L-glutamine is an amino acid found in protein. Human studies that date back to 1957 prove that this amino acid can reduce cravings and the anxiety that accompanies alcohol withdrawal. Click HERE to find a quality l-glutamine supplement. Other things like Milk Thistle help to cleanse the liver (which governs our moods and how we lose weight… low moods = more cravings).
If you need more help with your food or alcohol addiction, I would be honored to help with a consult. You don’t deserve to suffer through this alone! Click HERE to get started.
TESTIMONY OF THE DAY
Phone Consult Update!: “Hey Maria! It was great learning from you at Yoga Hus last night. I’m in my PJs browsing the new cookbooks! It was ironic that yesterday i was celebrating my first weight loss goal (20lbs!)
I did want to share, and hope you will feel free to share with other clients an important note about alcohol. Our phone consult was 3 months ago. I lost 7 lbs immediately but than plateaued for 3 months and was still not sleeping. I had been sugar/grain free and had used your recipes exclusively with the supplements, water etc.. …except I was still drinking one or more drinks nightly. Finally, my boyfriend and I gave up the drinking completely and IMMEDIATELY I began sleeping like a baby and the weight disappeared and I dropped 2 sizes AND no more cravings. It seems every morning, the scale surprises me with another few oz missing. I know, I know…duh. Tell your clients not to be an idiot like me and sabotage all of their efforts and expenses like I did.” Sara