T Nation

Alcohol and Definition


Can someone give me the technical/medical explanation for why when I cut out alcohol completely my abs and waist really firm up. I get the fact that it dehydrates the muscles and that is why your arms/legs/chest look bigger when you cut out the booze, but what is the exact reason for why it does the opposite in the midsection.

I have no qualms cutting it out completely but usually do better when I know the exact reasoning for my decisions.


by firm up i assume you mean look lean

alcoholic drinks are basically a mix of chemicals and sugar

cutting out the toxins and sugar is gonna help with water retention and insulin sensitivity which will likely result in losing fat overall and therefore including the stomach/waist


Dehydration causes rebound water retention. I'm not sure that's what you are seeing.

Chemically, alcohol gets turned into fatty acids in the liver. This is not healthy because it ends up creating fat deposits (fatty liver disease) and is worse when combined with sugar because the fructose portion of the sugar also turns into fatty deposits in the liver once glycogen is full.


I certainly look better after a night of drinking, go figure


I look better and have had some pr's.

The headaches suck tho


I don't know that there is a simple answer to this question. Alcohol metabolism and its effects are quite complex. Based off of the research I have read I think it has more to do with alcohol significantly inhibiting lipolysis (break down of fat). It doesn't appear alcohol significantly contributes to fat gain directly via extra calories. However, the overall hormonal environment that your body is put in, plus the inhibition of lipolysis, is likely why, in my opinion, you seem leaner when cutting out alcohol.

There is a very good article on T-Nation by Dr. Jade Teta about the effects of alcohol.


alcohol's a diuretic. All your subcutaneous water is gone so you have better definition.


Yes it is a diuretic. And it causes rebound water retention.


I've never experienced the rebound water retention


Good all around info. Sorry if its a dumb question, I know its better to not consume much of it, but I do better with good reasoning to self rationalize my actions.


Probably an obvious point, but the "more definition" part could just be psychological: you know you are cutting out a behavior that is labeled as "bad," so you expect some result. Then, voila, you see a result in the mirror.

Of course, would be different if you had some objective measure by which you were to claim that cutting the alcohol makes you look bigger.


Objective measure......my jackets fits tighter, shirts tighter, etc...


.....so you are larger. That's not the same as leaner....


Did someone really make a thread about why he got leaner after he quit drinking? I think the answer is in the question ha