If you've decided to adopt the LeanGains diet approach, you may be wondering whether alcohol will be permitted on this approach. Can you indulge in a few drinks from time to time and still maintain the diet or is all alcohol to be avoided? At the end of this article, you'll know the answer.

Most people have heard before that drinking alcohol will halt all progress and if they want to see results, they must refrain from drinking.

Martin Berkhan, creator of LeanGains, has a different approach however.

Let's look at the facts that you need to know about alcohol and LeanGains.

The Calorie Cost

The very first thing that you'll need to take into account is the calorie cost of drinking alcohol. This is what can impact fat loss if you aren't careful as the calories must still be counted.

Alcohol itself contains 7.1 calories per gram, but due to the thermic effect of the alcohol being digested in the body, you'll only net about 5.7 calories per gram.

Before you go off drinking five beers though because you're netting fewer calories than you thought, remember that in most cases, alcohol also stimulates the appetite, so you may have to add additional food calories on to this number as well if you do go ahead and eat.

Insulin Sensitivity

One interesting thing to note is that alcohol consumption can enhance insulin sensitivity. This is good news as far as keeping a lean body is concerned as insulin sensitivity is one thing that will influence how well your body responds to carbohydrates that you consume.

The Influence On Testosterone

For those out there who are very concerned with building up lean muscle mass, you may have heard that drinking will cause your testosterone levels to plummet.

This, however, isn't the case. Drinking alcohol in moderation appears to have no influence on testosterone, so it's not going to impact things there.

It may impact training performance if taken in too close to your workout however or if you're suffering from a hang-over leading into a session.

Additionally, if it causes you to miss out on eating properly for maximum recovery, that can impact the muscle growth results that you see.

It's Impact On Fat Loss

Now, when it comes to the actual impact on fat loss, alcohol does have some significance. As soon as alcohol enters your system, it will take priority. The body will need to clear away the alcohol before it continues on with fat oxidation, so fat burning will come to a stop.

How long it stops for will depend on how much alcohol you drank as well as how fast your metabolism is.

Basically, drinking alcohol would have a similar effect as having a high carb meal would - the body will instantly have another substrate to deal with other than oxidizing stored body fat, so fat burning will not continue.

Drinking Wisely

So if you are going to drink, how can you do so wisely so as to prevent fat gain?

Martin recommends a few steps.

First, on the day you are going to drink, reduce your dietary fat intake to 0.3 grams per kg of body weight. In addition to that, limit your carb intake to 1.5 grams per kg as well. Make sure that you eat plenty of protein and veggies to fill you up and account for the reduced calorie diet you're now on.

Finally, avoid drinking beer or any beverages made with fruit juice. These will further increase your chances of fat gain.

So there you have the important points to note about alcohol and LeanGains. If you're smart, you can have a night out without it meaning fat regain.

About the author: Shannon is a fitness trainer and freelance writer who has written for Bodybuilding.com.

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