IF you're trying to lose weight, you would have probably heard the same thing over and over again.
Cutting down on food and exercise, as well as your alcohol intake is pretty standard advice when it comes to watching those numbers come down on the scales.
If you like a tipple, you might be disappointed when social media stars say cutting out booze is one of the best ways to build muscle.
Muscle mass is important for weight loss as the more muscle mass you have, the more calories you will burn.
And experts have said that having a higher muscle mass is actually helpful when it comes to burning calories and fat.
But the good news is, you don't completely need to cut out booze and studies have shown you can have two beers and still lose weight.
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A study published in 2015 found that moderate daily alcohol intake for two weeks did not impair muscle growth.
While the study was carried out on rodents, expert say this implies that a beer or two is unlikely to impede your ability to build muscle in a response to resistant exercise.
Resistance training increases muscle strength by making your muscles work against a weight or force.
It includes using free weights, weight machines, resistance bands and your own body weight.
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Professor Colleen Deane, of Clinical, Metabolic & Molecular Physiology, at University of Nottingham said you might actually also have an alcohol threshold.
Writing in The Conversation, she said: "Once you go over it – will negatively affect the body’s muscle growth response to resistance exercise.
"Alcohol’s effect on the body’s hormones – specifically testosterone – may also impact muscle gains. Testosterone is a hormone that helps increase muscle mass in response to resistance exercise training."
The expert added that moderate doses of booze – approximated two beers – can increase testosterone levels.
"The downside, though, is that this increase doesn’t last very long, making it therefore unlikely to significantly contribute to muscle gain.
Some research shows that lots of booze can actually do the opposite and reduce testosterone levels.
"This suggests that there’s a threshold beyond which alcohol impairs the benefits of exercise," Prof Collene said.
But separate research has also shown that you can counteract the negative effect of alcohol on muscle growth to some extent by ingesting lots of protein.
Eating between 20g-25g of protein after exercising – the equivalent of approximately three large eggs – the study suggests.
"This is likely due to the fact that protein intake is one of the main drivers of muscle growth in the body," the expert said.
How often can I drink?
The average person can burn anywhere between 108-216 calories per 30 minutes of weightlifting – depending on the intensity of their workout.
A pint of beer, on the other hand, contains around 200 calories.
"So, it’s unlikely your post-workout drink will lead to excessive weight gain," she explained.
"But regularly indulging in heavy alcohol consumption may increase your risk of gaining weight.
"If you’re someone who enjoys having a couple drinks throughout the week, it looks like a post-workout drink or two is unlikely to hamper your efforts to gain muscle – though binge drinking could," she added.
Official guidelines recommend that both men and women should not drink more than 14 units of alcohol a week.
One unit is either 10ml or 8g of pure alcohol, which is meant to be the amount the average adult can process in an hour.
If you are concerned about your own or a loved one’s drinking, speak to your GP.
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They'll be able to explain what help is available after assessing your drinking habits, from counselling to medicine and support groups.
The NHS recommends having alcohol-free days and not bingeing.
How to get help with your booze
There are plenty of helpful resources and tools to help you with your drinking issues.
Drinkline – Call 0300 123 1110 (weekdays 9am to 8pm, weekends 11am to 4pm).
Alcoholics anonymous – free self-help group that offers a 12 week plan
Al-Anon – A group for family members or friends struggling to help a loved one
Adfam – a national charity working with families affected by drugs and alcohol
National Association for Children of Alcoholics (Nacoa – helpline for children who have parents who are alcohol dependent – call 0800 358 3456
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