Committed for Better Business

The reality is that alcohol is a simple sugar, in fact the simplest sugar out there. 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 these are basically worthless calories. They are easily converted to triglycerides and stored as fat. Sugar also affects the balance of insulin, so it cannot release stored fat. Final result over time = beer belly.

Worst of all, about 90-120 minutes after consuming a good amount of alcohol, your blood sugar drops, your body sends these little chemical signals (neurotransmitters) that try to get you to food that will restore your 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 a week (Cheat Day). You can’t get fat in one day, and if you spend six days a week speeding up your metabolism, your body will learn to burn. . . . good. . . even a Denny’s meal every now and then. 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 are 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 earlier will allow you to get to those quality nutrients before they run out. calories hit the bloodstream. Because protein has a “thermic” effect (producing heat or burning calories), it will decrease the metabolic slowdown caused by drinking on an empty stomach and help put your body in a state where it is more likely to burn in minus some of those calories from alcohol as energy. Swallowing two carb-blocking pills about 30 minutes before drinking may also be beneficial. These are carbohydrate binders that inhibit amylase enzymes that convert excess sugars into fats, reducing the likelihood of alcohol being stored as body fat (read: tummy). It is also best to eat something sugar-free along with alcohol to lessen the rush of sugars from alcohol into the bloodstream. Some low-fat Doritos made exclusively from corn and some chicken wings can help reduce the sugar rush (if eaten with alcohol and, of course, not in excess).

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

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