Alcohol is NOT Paleo
Lately I have been reading ‘It Starts with Food’ which was written by the creators of the whole30 program. They are very anti-alcohol and are of the opinion that no alcohol is paleo. Alcohol is one of my few indulgences while on the paleo diet. I go to a lot of happy hours and like to have a glass or two of wine when I eat a steak. I also tend to drink alcohol if I am really unhappy about something and need a distraction or crack open a very nice bottle of wine to celebrate whatever I am happy about something. I am starting to realize that I am drinking entirely too much alcohol and need to cut back. During my paleo challenge I didn’t lose as much weight as I had hoped to lose and I know if is because of overeating I did during and after drinking too much alcohol.
Why alcohol is NOT paleo:
Empty Calories – There is no nutritional value to alcohol. It has no vitamins or minerals and no protein or healthy fats. Drinking alcohol will never make you more healthy.
Raises insulin – Alcohol consumption leads to an increase in insulin secretion and low blood sugar. Alcohol has been shown to lower the effectiveness of insulin by 45% to 70% for people with liver disease.
Weight gain – Consuming alcohol often leads to weight gain, just ask any college freshman. Alcohol cannot be stored as fat in the body so it is metabolized first. Although the alcohol itself won’t make you fat, if you consume alcohol with food, you will use the alcohol for fuel and store the food as fat. Studies have shown that consuming alcohol with a meal leads to 33% more calories being consumed. Personally I have found that when I consume alcohol I am also more likely to snack late at night and crave junk food the next day which all leads to weight gain. If you want to lose weight then lose the alcohol first.
Lowers testosterone – Chronic consumption of alcohol causes a drop in testosterone levels in men. If you are looking to gain muscle, cut back on the alcohol.
Disease Risk – Consuming alcohol on a regular basis raises your risk of getting type II diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease.
Liver Damage – All alcohol needs to be processed by the liver. Drinking alcohol increases your likelihood of getting liver disease.
Worse sleep – Alcohol has been shown to disrupt sleep and decrease the amount of deep restful sleep we get. Alcohol consumption can also reduce our production of HGH by as much as 70% during sleep.
Although alcohol is not paleo, we can’t eliminate all of our pleasures in life. I will continue to drink wine, but I will cut back significantly. Even though alcohol is not paleo, some alcohols are better than other for someone on the paleo diet. The best alcohols are red wine. These alcohols are gluten free and are less likely to raise your insulin that a sugary mixed drink. One of my favorite mixed drinks (that I stole from Robb Wolf) is a NorCal Margarita. Two shots tequila, one fresh squeezed lime (not lime juice if you are at the bar because the lime juice has lots of added sugar) and selzer water (or whatever one is calorie free).