Before you start your fasting plan , one question arises for everyone who likes to drink a glass of wine or beer: Is it allowed to drink alcohol during interval fasting? To find out the answer to this question and the connection between interval fasting, alcohol consumption and fat burning, we will look at each point individually in this article. In the end, you will have put the puzzle together.
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What is intermittent fasting in a nutshell
Intermittent fasting is a dietary strategy that alternates periods of fasting with periods of reduced calories. Intermittent fasting uses a biological process called autophagy. The body naturally returns to it during long periods without food (16-24 hours). This results in a number of benefits ranging from improved fat burning and insulin sensitivity to increased immunity and reduced oxidative stress.
Fun Facts: Autophagy is the body’s way of cleaning damaged cells to regenerate new, healthier cells. “Auto” means “alone” and “phage” means “to eat.” So the literal meaning of autophagy is “self-consumption.”
Alcohol during Intermittent Fasting: What You Should Know
In short, since all alcoholic beverages contain calories, consuming alcohol during interval fasting will break it and reduce the overall benefits. Most experts believe that anything between 35 and 100 calories consumed during interval fasting will break autophagy and provide the body with the same benefits as if you had only fasted for 3 or 4 hours.
As for alcohol consumption during meal times, most experts say that moderate consumption is unlikely to disrupt your fast. However, if you are considering combining fasting with alcohol consumption, we recommend that you thoroughly rethink your strategy. Here’s why:
What is the relationship between fat burning and alcohol consumption?
The goals of intermittent fasting range from better blood sugar control to weight loss to improved immunity and cell repair, all of which are affected by alcohol consumption. This is not to say that the two cannot coexist, but it may be that alcohol consumption during the fast is counterproductive.
A study shows that fat burning decreases by more than 70 percent with normal alcohol consumption. A normal amount means about 24 grams of alcohol, which is equivalent to two glasses of beer or wine. However, no change in carbohydrate or calorie burning was found. That is, metabolism increased, glucose burning remained the same, but fat burning decreased. It can be concluded that our body used alcohol primarily as a source of energy.
How can this happen? The body converts alcohol into acetate in several steps, because this is the only way the liver can break it down. More than 75% of the alcohol consumed is converted into acetate. In this way, the body can break it down and render it harmless. However, acetate is burned before fats, carbohydrates and proteins. This is the reason why the consumption of alcohol is not allowed during Intermittent Fasting. Especially if you want to lose weight with it.
Alcohol consumption and weight loss: Some general advice
If you are practicing intermittent fasting to lose weight , there is an increased chance that your alcohol consumption will be counterproductive to your goals. Some studies suggest that alcohol consumption is a risk factor for obesity.
Biologically, you can only lose weight if you eat fewer calories than you burn. The extra calories from alcohol increase the risk of converting them to body fat and gaining weight. The same carbohydrates and glucose found in a glass of wine or beer can also be provided by fruits and vegetables. However, unlike alcohol, they also contain fiber and micronutrients.
Even if these foods are not so “exciting”, this substitution can prove crucial for better health and more energy, especially if you maintain a calorie deficit.
Our recommendation: if you want to lose weight, it is probably better to drink less alcohol, especially if you replace these calories with foods that make you feel better, fuller and healthier in the long run.
Alcohol during intermittent fasting: keep the following tips in mind.
If you plan to have a few drinks during intermittent fasting, we recommend a few strategies.
- First, make sure your drinking window coincides with the middle of your expected eating window. This gives your body a chance to process not only the calories from food, but also those from alcohol, which are absorbed more slowly because they have to be broken down first.
- Second, avoid heavy drinking. Like overeating, excessive alcohol consumption can lead to the accumulation of excess fat. The body then has to break this down during the fast. Needless to remind you, this is counterproductive.
- Third, make sure you know the approximate calorie content of drinks so you can plan your meals effectively. This is especially true if you want to lose weight. For example, red wine has more calories than tequila. And your wine glass will differ depending on whether it contains a dry wine or a strong sweet wine.
- Finally, we recommend that you avoid drinking alcohol on an empty stomach, eat plenty of vegetables, and drink plenty of water.
Many people reach for food or drink the morning after drinking alcohol to avoid a hangover. But this is not possible when you practice Intermittent Fasting. So enjoy responsibly!