Alcohol affects the body in many ways and some athletes avoid alcohol completely to avoid its negative effects. Alcohol is often referred to as providing ‘empty calories’. Alcohol contains 7 calories per gram, whereas carbohydrate contains 4 calories per gram, but alcohol has no nutritional value. The body can’t store alcohol, so it metabolises it immediately, taking priority over other metabolic processes and allowing fats to be stored rather than metabolised. Alcohol can cause dehydration, disrupt sleep patterns, increase appetite and impair reaction time. Alcohol also decreases testosterone levels which adversely affects lean muscle production and muscle recovery, as well as athletic performance.
Most of these effects will only be significant to performance through consumption of large quantities of alcohol but, as with all nutritional choices, you should consider it carefully in your diet.