Sunday, December 2, 2012

Scientific Support for Alcohol-Induced Weight Loss -- 187 lbs (-42) [5X]

Every diet I've ever looked into discouraged alcohol or forbade it outright. I figured it should be possible to lose weight with normal drinking, but was surprised how effective it was and how drinking small amounts throughout the day seemed to increase weight loss. I started poking around and found low-carb + alcohol diets dating back centuries, but none bothered to explain why that worked. Then I read an article on an intermittent fasting website that included references to several scientific studies over the past few decades which shed some light on the subject. One study in 1991 found substantial evidence for alcohol-induced weight loss at heavy consumption levels when normal carbohydrate calories were replaced with alcohol calories:

Interestingly, the same study found adding large amounts of alcohol calories to a normal day's intake had relatively little effect on weight gain (esp. compared to chocolate):

Although a confirmed, comprehensive model for these and subsequent observations still does not exist, even after 20 years, there is evidence for several probable contributing mechanisms:
● Increased metabolism by stimulating the sympathetic nervous system and decreasing blood glucose
● Energy wastage associated with the induction of the microsomal ethanol-oxidizing system (MEOS) that occurs with higher, sustained alcohol consumption
● Impaired energy utilization of other fuels, particularly fat, due to displacement and/or changes in mitochondrial function

It is a bit disappointing that more research hasn't gone into fully understanding this phenomenon, but not surprising given the stigma attached to heavy alcohol use (as defined by the NIAAA). I am curious to know, for instance, if keeping BAC levels low (say, < .03%) with chronic consumption is reasonably safe--it's certainly better than high levels. And do the health benefits of maintaining low body and fat mass outweigh the use of alcohol to do so (for people that are not successful with healthier lifestyles)? I feel like there is a happy medium here, and while I'm having fun experimenting to find it, the result will not be statistically significant for anyone interested in trying something similar, at least without further support from the scientific community.

What I consumed Saturday -- 187 lbs (-42) [5X]:
● Coffee w/ 2 tsp fiber
● Very thin slice of chocolate gingerbread
● Grape gummi, mango liquorice, and apricot fruit leather
● .75 oz Hot Mate assorted rice crackers
● Starbucks old-fashion chocolate donut
● Plate of Jade Dragon sesame chicken
● 2 oz Monarch of the Glen 3yr
● 2 oz Old Crofter Scotch
● 2 oz Ballantine's
● Cheese-only lasagna w/ turkey meatball
● 16 cheddar cheese cubes w/ mini pretzels & apple slices

What I consumed Friday -- 189 lbs (-40) [9X]:
● Coffee w/ 2 tsp fiber
● Half thin slice of chocolate gingerbread
● Quincy's triple garlic burger & fries
● 1.76 oz Cookie Dough Balance bar
● Large portion Jade Dragon pork roll, sesame chicken & rice (last hurrah)
● Grape gummi
● 2 fortune cookies
● Cup hot water w/ 3 tsp instant buttered rum drink & 2% milk

What I consumed Thursday -- 191 lbs (-38) [6X]:
● Coffee w/ 2 tsp fiber
● Small slice of chocolate gingerbread
● Steamers fried clam strips w/ french fries smothered in vinegar, tabasco, tartar sauce, and ketchup
● Costco giant chocolate muffin top
● 2 big plates taco-seasoned ground beef w/ lettuce, grated cheddar, salsa, and tortilla strips
● Half slice Cheesecake Factory pumpkin/pecan cheesecake w/ whipped cream

What I consumed Wednesday -- 188 lbs (-41) [5X]:
● Slice of chocolate gingerbread
● 2 slices Flying Pizzeria chef's special
● Chocolate chip cookie
● Rotisserie chicken leg & thigh w/ reduced sodium Stovetop stuffing
● Cup of warm 2% milk w/ 3 tsp instant buttered rum drink

What I consumed Tuesday -- 189 lbs (-40) [8X]:
● Apple fritter (last donut?)
● 3.66 oz Napoleon Tiny Smoked Oysters w/ 3 Walkers Highland Oatcakes crackers
● 1.76 oz Cookie Dough Balance bar
● Big slice of chocolate gingerbread
● Spaghetti w/ sauce, 3 turkey meatballs, grated parmesan, & 2 slices of garlic bread
● Small slice each of Papa John's & Papa Murphy's cheese pizzas
● Cup of Sponge Bob Squarepants Cheese Nips

What I consumed Monday -- 189 lbs (-40) [7X]:
● Trader Joe's pumpkin bar
● 2 loaded plates Indian buffet
● Half Papa John's large, thin pepperoni, sausage, and spicy sausage pizza w/ Tabasco Buffalo Wing sauce
● 5 Earth's Best organic mini waffles w/ syrup
● Coffee w/ 2 tsp fiber & 2 tsp instant buttered rum drink (no real rum :-()

What I consumed last Sunday -- 187 lbs (-42) [4X]:
● Frost Doughnuts Pecan Caramel Creme & Pumpkin Old Fashioned
● 4 gummi bears
● Plate of Yea's Wok Sautéed String Beans with Tofu
● Hero sandwich
● 10+ pieces honeydew melon
● Rotisserie chicken leg, thigh, & wings w/ reduced sodium Stovetop stuffing & asparagus