Beer: Does drinking beer on the weekends slow down your progress?
By Tom Venuto
Beer and other alcoholic beverages can be enjoyed on occasion, but only in moderation. My definition of moderation would be one or two drinks (three at the very most) per day and only occasionally (like on the weekends). Some studies have shown protective health benefits from drinking small amounts of alcohol, particularly red wine. However, drinking excessively will definitely interfere with your muscular gains, decrease your energy and contribute to fat storage.
The primary problem with all alcohol, regardless of what form it's in - wine, beer, or liquor - is that the calories add up so quickly. At seven calories per gram, alcohol is the second most calorically dense nutrient behind fat, which contains nine calories per gram. When you're trying to lose body fat, all those extra calories certainly don't help with your fitness endeavors. Alcohol suppresses the body's ability to burn fat. When your liver is metabolizing alcohol, fat burning in the body stops altogether!
Alcohol dehydrates you, it interferes with the absorption of many nutrients and excessive consumption has been linked to health problems such as liver disease, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, cardiomyopathy, abnormal heart rhythms, cancer, decreased resistance to infections, gout and hypoglycemia.
The key in developing a successful nutrition plan for yourself is to find a happy medium that you can live with. You'll have to make some sacrifices to develop a great body, but on the other hand, you shouldn't deprive yourself completely either. Let's face it, eating and drinking are two of life's greatest pleasures. If you try to be too strict by completely abstaining from alcohol, that might not be realistic; it depends on what your goals are and on how serious you are about achieving them. Most people just want to be fit and lean, not necessarily huge and "ripped" like a bodybuilder. If that's the case, then a drink or two won't slow your progress much. However, if you are serious about getting maximum results in the minimum amount of time, or if you are a competitive bodybuilder or athlete, then I would advise you not to drink at all.