The surprising truth about alcohol and your health

The surprising truth about alcohol and your health

by Pamela Ng 29 Dec 2017

Alcohol is often associated with over-indulgence and an unhealthy lifestyle. But does it truly deserve its bad reputation? Does it really make us a less healthy person? Chances are, we all know of that someone who is able to imbibe alcohol on a somewhat regular basis without being worse for wear. Here are some truths you need to know:


Alcohol can burn calories


When alcohol enters your body, your system will aim to metabolise the alcohol before anything else. In fact, the metabolism of alcohol requires more of your body energy than if it is breaking down carbohydrates, protein or fat. As such, your body actually burns more calories when there is alcohol in your body.


Alcohol helps maintain high levels of HDL


High density lipoprotein (HDL) is a class of cholesterol that is beneficial. It helps to remove low density lipoprotein (LDL) from the walls of the arteries, allowing blood to flow better and preventing heart-related health problems. So what is the role of alcohol in all of this?


Studies have shown that alcohol can have a beneficial effect on HDLs in that they are broken down at a slower rate. As a result, there are more of such HDLs to help maintain your heart health more efficiently. Simply put, alcohol can indirectly benefit your cardiovascular health!


But here’s where alcohol starts to become tricky…


Alcohol ruins your workouts


It is common knowledge that excessive alcohol can cause hangovers. When it comes to following your workout schedules, they certainly don’t help. Sometimes, hangovers are so terrible that they can get even the best of us, making you skip your workout session in favour of getting more rest. Even if you do manage to muster up the willpower to get up and exercise, chances are that you won’t be in your best form on account of being both dehydrated and tired. Both you and your workout will suffer.


Alcohol is embedded in high-calorie drinks


Some people drink straight alcohol, and they probably don’t last through the night. But for many people, cocktails and beers are their beverages of choice. There is a hidden danger in these drinks: carbohydrates and lots of it. Cocktails mainly contain a variety of syrups and sweetened ingredients, while most kinds beer carry a high number of carbohydrates due to it being grain-based. Drinking too much of these beverages can make you consume more calories than you intend to. And if you are following a diet, the drinks will put most definitely put a dent on it.


With alcohol having both negative and positive on effects on your health, should you cut it out completely? The answer is no. Instead, drink less cocktails and beers, or simply opt for wine instead (but still in moderation). Spirits like gin and whiskey are usually safer bets in terms of calories, plus its concentration acts as a natural constraint for most people when it comes to consumption. Enjoy your drinks, but don’t get drunk on them!