Posts Tagged ‘nutrition’

“5,000 to 10,000 people die prematurely from alcohol use a year” (www.avon.nhs.uk/alcohol/the_facts.htm)

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Most of you will say that this number is small and won’t effect you because you drink “in moderation” and only one won’t kill you. Now consider this:

27% men and 14% women drink over recommended units weekly and there are 40 million “social” drinkers. Now the definition of a social drinker is, according to medical-dictionary.com, “a person who consumes alcoholic beverages I.e. 2 standard drinks/day in a socially acceptable situation”. Cast your memory back to last Friday/Saturday night and think about how many drinks you had (assuming you can remember) and then compare that against the weekly recommendation:
– men 21 units a week
– women 14 units a week
(Beer = 2 units, spirits 35ml = 1.5 units, 175ml wine = 3 units)

I’m not condemning alcohol in this article (when consumed intelligently) however I do want to make the facts clear that what we currently deem as socially acceptable is slowly but surely killing our country. 8 units for men and 6 units for women is classed as binge drinking, alcohol costs the NHS £3 billion yearly and it’s predicted that there will be 210,000 alcohol death related deaths in the next 20 years.

“But I only go out every other week to drink”

Lets take a look at some of the physiological impacts alcohol will have on our bodies. Firstly, it will screw up our circadian rhythm (the daily activity of living) in other words our sleep pattern. When this falls out of sync it will cause a cascade of events within our body altering metabolism, fatty acid oxidation, hunger patterns and cravings (plus the potential dreaded hangover and memory loss).

HEALTH CONSEQUENCES

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In a review by Oscar-Berman et al (1997), alcohol consumption was linked to disruptions within the following:
– nervous system (CNS and PNS)
– neurological processes (temperature, sleep and co-ordination)
– cognitive abilities (memory, learning and perception)
– Korsakoff’s syndrome (memory disorder)
– changes within the limbic system, diencephalon (centre of brain acting as a station for nerves), cerebral cortex (intelligent behaviour and higher consciousness)
– impedes actions of neurotransmitters (chemicals allowing communication within brain)
– glutamate over activity (leading to cell death, linked to strokes and seizures and memory loss)
– GABA over activity followed by deficiency (withdrawal seizures)
– thiamine deficiency
– liver disease

I am very much out of my depth of knowledge and understanding to go into explaining and truly understanding the above links to alcohol so i wont kid myself and try, however all I know is that there is a STRONG one. I know from my own past experiences that physiologically alcohol has never done my body any favours for my body composition and health. So ill ask you all the following:
– would you put petrol in your diesel car because your car said (theoretically speaking of course, unless you actually have a speaking car) that it enjoyed the taste of petrol more?
– is short term satisfaction going to achieve long term goals if they have opposing effects and outcomes?
– if something isn’t broken would you try to fix it?
– would you ignore a wound on your body for several hours, knowing that the longer you leave it the worse it will become?
– is there a difference between WANT and NEED?

Now I’m not saying there is any obvious answers there, only interpretations based upon common sense 🙂 any situation you face in life, no matter how stressful, will ALWAYS remain no matter how much alcohol you consume. So saying you drink to take your mind off things will never help a situation. The sooner you tackle a scenario (no matter how daunting I.e. arguments with partners, money problems, job worries etc) the sooner it will get better. HOWEVER the longer you leave it and think about it (especially since alcohol will typically enhance the scale of the problem as you can’t think straight) the worse it will become.

The same goes for body composition goals, if your chasing a goal and you have everything sorted e.g. Nutrition and training nailed. Why would you want to add it in? Is it worth the risk? Do you want or need it? Yes, drinks like red wine, have shown some form of health benefit but can’t that be achieved via other avenues with less potential consequences?

I can appreciate some need a psychological break if they’ve been eating clean for so long for the first time, or time for celebrations (which in my opinion is a human inflicted stereotype that alcohol is needed to celebrate) but I fail to see any other reasons for NEEDING alcohol in your life.

Human beings have got such awesome potential to become something special and this, in my opinion, is hindered by social influence by others and there is only a small handful of people who have got the guts to do something about it and ignore the BS.

Moral of the article is to just stop making excuses and trying to justify having something you don’t need. Yes have it on the OCCASION if you really feel like you deserve a doggy treat however don’t try to make excuses. This is aimed at people who are trying to improve body composition and health and longevity 🙂 and just to make it clear this is MY current thoughts and feelings towards alcohol, which MAY change!

If people around you class you as being anti social or boring on a night out then chances are they’re either jealous of you, have minimal respect for themselves as a human or really don’t enjoy their jobs that they use alcohol as an escape when they should be doing their best to try to change that situation to do something they enjoy. As that’s what life should be about in my opinion…happiness, laughter and friends 🙂 not just living for the weekend just to pay the bills to just make it by in an environment you don’t actually enjoy.

Dream, believe, achieve 🙂