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How Alcohol Affects The Midlife Metabolism


Today I’m going to be covering a topic that I am asked about A LOT.

“Kim, can I drink alcohol?”

First of all I am a big proponent of shifting away from living out of shoulds”. “I should eat this.” “I should not eat that.”

Living out of “shoulds” is never successful because we either feel deprived or obligated, neither of which are feelings that we LOVE so we tend to find a way out of it. 

When we can’t sustain the lifestyle choice we are left with feelings of guilt or shame when we “cheat on or fail” the food choices or lifestyle choices. It’s also quite normal to have an undercurrent of a feeling of wanting to be defiant and rebellious. 

However, when we are inwardly driven it's quite different. When we are tuned into and aware of listening to our body and understand how our choices affect the consequences we experience we are much more likely to feel empowered in our lifestyle choices and sustain them in alignment with our desired outcomes. 

I like to use a play on words when it comes to making a shift from “should” language to empowerment language and I’ll be using it here today so I thought I’d take a moment to share it with you:

“Should” language says: BEWARE of eating….

Empowerment language says: BE-A-WARE…

  • Be aware of what your body is telling you.
  • Be aware of how your actions are affecting your body.
  • Be aware of the outcomes you are looking to experience.
  • Be aware of your desire to have fun and enjoy living.
  • Be aware of finding a lifestyle that you love and is in alignment with your desired outcomes.

Now back onto our topic at hand. Alcohol

If you love a good glass of wine or a drink at a party then each time this opportunity arises there exists a choice point. I want you to Be-Aware and be empowered with making a decision that you feel aligned with when it does. To to this I’ll be covering the following topics in this short video:

  • Be-Aware: Alcohol Facts
  • Be-Aware Of Calories
  • Be-Aware Of Carbohydrates
  • How To Choose A Drink That You Are Most In Alignment With
  • Support Supplement

BE-AWARE: Alcohol Facts

When you consume alcohol it is seen as ethanol by your body. Your body sees this as a toxin and the first step is to turn it into acetaldehyde within the liver which unfortunately is even a more toxic substance but a necessary step until it can be then turned into water and carbon dioxide. This process is the number one, red alarm bell priority for the body which we will talk about in a moment.

On average  you can consume one drink over the course of 90 minutes. The process to accomplish it  takes energy and it takes something called NAD in order to facilitate it. NAD is also required by the brain to metabolize glucose into energy. When the NAD is being used up by the red alarm bell priority of metabolizing alcohol then there is less available for the brain. Not only is this not good for the brain, but it also causes us to crave more food in an attempt to feed the brain. (Munchies)

It’s also important to know that this process also causes oxidative stress, also called free radical damage. Oxidative stress is something you want to avoid because it is the root cause of ALL age related symptoms and almost all disease states my friend. So if you are going to consume alcohol it is wise to help your body by optimizing its ability to produce NAD and to produce it’s own antioxidant enzymes.

So that is enough science geeky talk for now. But these terms and concepts will be important in a moment as I explain how to make healthier choices around alcohol consumption. 

Let’s face facts…

If you are going to have a drink then optimizing your body’s ability to deal with it is the first step, but then it’s important to choose when you consume it and what kind. 

Remember how I said that when you consume alcohol the body makes it a number one, red alarm bell priority?

What that means is that even if you have food in your belly, the body will just shuffle it off to fat cell storage in order to deal with its red alarm bell priority first. If you are eating a heavy meal while drinking alcohol, you are going to have a heavy amount of fat storage. In fact any food you are eating will be shuffled along, so think mindfully of eating light and simple to digest foods if you are going to eat if fat loss is your priority.

Cocktails can also be a source of further metabolism confusion. The sugars and juices commonly found in cocktails spike blood sugar while the alcohol hammers the sugar regulatory system. And mixing drink types can also cause added stress. Consider trying to chase two rabbits at once. It would be hard to catch either one. Asking the body to metabolize multiple types of red alarm bell priority alcoholic drinks can also be a challenge

Be-Aware: Calories

Alcohol is quite high in calories. It takes about 3,500 additional calories a week in order to gain a pound of fat. A Pina Colada can have 520 calories, a glass of wine around 120 calories and a shot of vodka around 70 calories. These are empty calories and we all know how easy it can be to split a bottle of wine over dinner.

Be-Aware: Carbohydrates

Being mindful of carbohydrate consumption is key to regulating a hormone called insulin. When insulin is being produced our fat burning capabilities are turned off. Insulin also affects our other hormones as well. When we reach midlife and hormones begin to shift we become more insulin resistant and this can affect our perimenopause and menopausal symptoms as well. 

How To Choose A Drink

Health experts agree that distilled alcohols like vodka and tequila are best. That is, unless you add them to sugary mixers. It is best to mix them with seltzer water and add a slice of fruit or herbs. If you are going to choose wine then it is best to choose low sugar options such as champagne, chardonnay or cabernet. I don’t recommend beer, but if you MUST, then gluten free would be best even if you do not consider yourself gluten sensitive. 

Support Supplements

No matter what alcohol you choose, 100% of it requires NAD to metabolize it and it will cause oxidative stress on the body. Looking to enjoy a drink while optimizing your body to be able to care for itself? My favorite methods of doing this are natural formulas that remind the body how to produce NAD and produce its own glutathione. Glutathione is the body's master antioxidant enzyme capable of reducing oxidative stress. As we age our bodies need reminders and Protandim Nrf2 and Protandim NAD are the best ways I have found to activate this naturally.

Full transparency, I have an affiliate relationship with the company that makes Protandim. Over the last decade I have enjoyed the cutting edge nutrigenomic approach of their products personally for a decade now. CLICK HERE to check them out further. 


Kim Jacques, Midlife Health & Lifestyle Coach helping women reset their metabolism with ease and unlocking the power of aging backwards naturally. 

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