MMA Diet 101: Drinking Alcohol
Since time immemorial, alcohol's impact to human body is still a debate. So the question is this: How does alcohol affects a MMA fighter's body?
As written the by the renowned Standford University psychologist, Dr. Leo Festinger, “A man with conviction is a hard man to change. Tell him you disagree and he turns away. Show him facts or figures and he questions your sources. Appeal to logic and he fails to see your point.”
Indeed, it is much easier to rationalize reasons in favor of our habits than to discredit them. That is why people dig in to fad diets, which happens to be remarkably similar to how they already eat. And it’s also the same with regards to drinking alcohol. While research has proven that occasional and moderate alcohol consumption have some benefits on human health, it also have its antithesis — especially with regards to athletes.
Some people believe that the reason why French people have low rates of heart disease despite heavy butter and cream consumption, is because they drink red wine. After a series of research, they’ve found the powerful health factor of red wine — Resveratrol. It is also a no brainer that alcohol products are made from healthy ingredients like barley and grapes, while it is also the culprit in 50% of vehicular accidents in the US. In addition to these, alcohol products is said to damage the liver and heart, and can increase the risk of cancer. Estimated to be around for 10,000 years already, the debate and counter debate about alcohol has been probably going on for just as long.
There are no real long-term studies on alcohol’s impact on the human body to date. On the other hand, short-term researches are just only stating the obvious: That alcohol consumption of four to five drinks throughout the week is better than getting wasted on a Saturday night after a week long of abstinence.
So in the wake of all this much-publicized studies, how can alcohol affect a MMA fighter?
1. Vitamins and Minerals. Alcohol causes a lot of vitamins and minerals to rapidly drain, disabling a fighter in training to quickly recuperate and work out as hard. It may even lower their immune response.
2. Protein. Alcohol can have negative impact on the body’s ability to use protein in repairing and growing itself.
3. Fat. At seven calories per gram, alcohol doesn’t carry much nutritional benefits. As a result, a MMA athlete can add ‘empty calories’ on their diet.
4. Dehydration. While most MMA fighters already take electrolytes to replenish the water lost in sweat, alcohol can cause dehydration. That said, another step should be incorporated in order to ensure proper hydration levels.
5. Testosterone. Alcohol can lower testosterone level in the body, while it can increase estrogen. That said, it may decrease the body’s capability to grow and repair muscles.
6. Sleep. Alcohol reduces sleep quality — an important aspect that is sometimes overlooked when it comes to body’s natural ability to recover.