In the present day, it seems as if everyone is always on the go. Whether it's rushing to work, picking the kids up from soccer practice, or taking a day trip, most people have always got something going on. Unfortunately, all this running around has come at the expense of people's health.
Instead of taking the time to make a hearty and healthy meal, many Americans reach for something that will provide them with a quick energy boost. This usually ends up being fast food, a candy bar, or some other unhealthy snack that puts on the pounds without providing much nutritional value.
Another habit Americans have, alcohol consumption. Which might be a cause for concern when it comes to weight and overall fitness level. According to a 2018 meta-analysis of six national surveys, the prevalence of alcohol consumption among adults has increased by around 4.4% between 2000 and 2016.
Aside from the damaging effects of intoxication and the risk of drunk driving, alcohol could be a major culprit in preventing many Americans from losing weight and keeping it off.
Alcohol Contains Calories
While it may not seem like it, alcohol does contain quite a few calories. A glass of red wine contains about 130 calories which is not much less than what's found in a serving of ice cream. If you're busy socializing and not paying attention to how much you're drinking, you could be consuming a lot more calories than you think.
What's more, mixed drinks often contain things like fruit juice or other sweeteners that are usually packed with sugar and lots of other unhealthy ingredients. Before you reach for the alcohol, make sure you know what you're drinking and how many calories it contains.
Alcohol Stimulates Your Hypothalamus
The hypothalamus is the area of your brain that's responsible for regulating your body temperature and releasing hormones that affect your mood and control your appetite. The digestion of alcohol stimulates this area of your brain causing you to feel hungrier and even crave more calory-heavy foods like fast food or sweets.
Alcohol Affects Your Sleep Patterns
There's a common misconception that alcohol is good for sleep because it makes you drowsy. However, "drowsiness" does not equate to long and restful sleep; in fact, it has the opposite effect.
Your sleep is regulated by an important internal process called your circadian rhythm. This process is sensitive in many ways and can be affected by things like your mood and health. After drinking alcohol, many people find that they are able to get to sleep quickly, but the alcohol affects their circadian rhythm preventing them from getting restful sleep.
When you get poor sleep, you may find that you're sleepy throughout the day, making you less likely to follow through with your fitness routine. Also, sleep is very important for rebuilding muscle, so a poor night's sleep could directly impact your muscle growth.
Alcohol affects your fitness goals in a number of ways. If you'd like to enjoy a drink every now and again, be sure to pay attention to what's in your drink, how often you drink, and when you drink it. Non-mixed drinks are a safer choice because you know exactly what's in them. And try to avoid drinking before bed or on an empty stomach. Responsible drinking is very important to your overall health and well being, in addition to your fitness goals.