Cocktails - alcohols effect on metabolism

Alcohol, Metabolism & Exercise

From a health perspective, whilst the negative effects of alcohol are well-documented, there is conflicting evidence on whether drinking alcohol is solely negative on our health or if there are indeed benefits.

How does alcohol affect our metabolism, weight gain or loss and does exercise help to level off the negative effects?

Lockdown libations

Alcohol consumption has increased during lockdown for many people. It is an easy way for some to deal with the stresses and strains of the current world and increased consumption can creep up on us unnoticed.

I’ve certainly been guilty of over-indulging and enjoying some cocktails on a few occasions but isn’t that ok? Isn’t balance in life healthy for us? Yes, of course it is but balancing a toxin in general health terms is more challenging than other behaviours.


What does alcohol do to your metabolism? This is a complex question as we all metabolise alcohol (along with fat and sugar) differently.

A variety of scientific research has shown that alcohol affects liver function, glucose production, insulin levels and metabolism in different ways. In addition to this, different alcoholic drinks can have differing effects on these processes too, and as many alcoholic drinks are mixed with syrups and juices and other items, these have additional complicating effects on metabolic and liver processes.

It is well understood that the effects of alcohol on the liver may lead to the onset of chronic diseases like diabetes but are these reduced or reversed by activity?

Exercise v alcohol

There is plenty of evidence to demonstrate that activity, particularly cardio-vascular exercise can reverse the negative cognitive effects to the brain and inflammation to the liver caused by alcohol consumption.

As a health & fitness provider we harp on all the time about the benefits of exercise, but we are also big advocates for balance in life being conducive to overall wellbeing. If you enjoy moderate alcohol consumption, and why shouldn’t you, doesn’t it make sense to get out there and start exercising too? Of course it does – so what are you waiting for?

Knowledge is power

You are special… so Mum was right.

Everyone reacts and processes different foods and drinks differently and alcohol is in the same box.

You can better understand how you metabolise what you eat and drink by registering with Predict/Zoe Study

The Predict/Zoe study is coming to the UK soon and is a world-renowned study into metabolic function led by Prof Tim Spector

To better understand your biological age try Glycanage

Glycanage uses a simple at home test kit, to test for immune system over-activation, and help you understand how your lifestyle is affecting your long-term health


The author is the Owner of ESPH, is a former UK Decathlon champion, enjoys mixing and drinking a variety of delicious cocktails reasonably regularly, and exercising vigorously very regularly.

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