Alcohol is not a Health Food

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Contributing Writer
Jeffrey Barkstrom

On a popular news entertainment show about 40 years ago, the commentator spoke of how Mediterranean people have lower heart attacks and then he said it was because they drank wine everyday. What have the last 40 years of research told us?

Well, the intervening years have pointed to many other factors as the main reasons for the decrease in heart disease amongst Mediterranean people. Research now points to the high consumption of fats, fruits and vegetables as the disease reducers.

Alcohol was found to increase the risk of cancer at any level. Where did the health benefits go? It was found the heart benefit was only found for women over the age of 55 who drank less than two glasses of wine per week. Even for women over the age of 55, the negatives were found to out weigh the positives on other organs in the body.

Alcohol (ethanol) is made from carbohydrate rich foods. It is the most popular recreational drug in the world. In the US, alcohol consumption is rising with the biggest changes in alcohol abuse is among women (85% increase) and the elderly (105% increase).

When we drink alcohol, it is metabolized by the liver. Even moderate consumption causes fat to be stored in the liver that causes us to feel weak, fatigued, confusion and increases inflammation in the body.

Ethanol reduces communication between brain cells and causes temporary and permanent memory loss. Drinking moderately has been linked to dementia in the elderly.

Alcohol contains twice as many calories as a sugary drink per ounce. Studies have found that drinking regularly causes weight gain. Weight gain then leads to all sorts of other diseases.

Going back to cancers. Alcohol consumption is a risk factor for cancers of the mouth, throat, colon, breast, and liver. The more alcohol a person consumes the bigger the risk becomes.

To learn more about health and nutrition, please feel free to come to one of our workshops, call 716-665-5015 to reserve your spot. Have a great summer!