If any, what alcohol is best?

  • If any, what alcohol is best?

    BY Catherine Sissons | ON Thursday, 18 January 2018
  • Traditionally alcohol is a big 'no no' when it comes to being healthy.  Alcohol is a food group of its own - some people think it is a carbohydrate or a sugar however it really stands alone as a food group.  It is calorie dense and doesn't offer any nutritional value.  You may have read that a glass of wine can help heart health but the evidence is not significant enough to warrant drinking alcohol every day.

    The truth about alcohol from a biochemical perspective is that it is an acid and alters the way you burn your other food that you eat when you include alcohol in your day. It is also diuretic so it causes your body to lose water.  You will have read my other blog posts about the importance of eating foods that are high in water content because your body is two thirds water.  Eating foods that are high in water content and carry nutrients with them is a much more efficient way of hydrating the body than drinking water alone.

    Alcohol doesn't need to be cut out of your lifestyle altogether to achieve and keep long term healthy results.  It is when alcohol is consumed unconsciously that it can cause your healthiness harm. If you choose to include it or there is a chance the some days of the week you a more likely to have a wine in the evening there are ways to include it without it causing havoc or cravings.

    There is nowhere to store alcohol in the body so as a result it is used as a main fuel source when you consume it. It provides no nutrients so naturally the body will look for existing carbohydrate in your body to burn for fuel. This depletes your glycogen (glucose stores) which consequently sends a message to your brain that you are hungry.  Avoiding carbohydrates on a day when you drink alcohol can exaggerate this effect and also lead to more toxic loading on the body and you feel more tired and lethargic the next day even though you only had one or two beverages the night before.

    The diuretic affect alcohol has on your body causes your blood to become thicker and your heart uses more energy to pump it around your body. When your body needs instant energy it signals to get easy carbohydrates fast.  Alcohol is always associated with dry carbohydrates - the type that can be digested and absorbed fast to help give you an energy boost. 

    The more alcohol that you consume the less conscious and in control you find yourself around food like crackers, platters and hot chips. Your body will naturally feel like salty food with alcohol because you are getting dehydrated which sounds counterproductive but when you ingest electrolytes like salt your body will naturally gravitate to water as you become thirstier.  In this scenario it is not normal water that is in your hand but wine, beer or spirits so you drink it faster and the cycle accelerates.

    When you balance your eating earlier in the day with foods that provide your body with extra hydration and nutrients to help your liver process the toxin you can minimise the risk of the effects alcohol has on your body within reason.  No way of eating or nourishment will ever balance binge drinking or unconscious eating behaviour but your risks can be minimized.

    Here are three top tips to think about on a day you drink alcohol:

    1)      Eat a breakfast that includes vegetables - vegetables contain greater variety of vitamins and minerals and it is the minerals in your food that will help you with balancing fluid in your body cells.

    2)      Include wet carbohydrates at your breakfast and lunch these include a salad with beetroot, pumpkin or kumara or rice. Carbohydrates means 'watered carbon' in Latin and this is because the chemical structure of carbohydrates carry a lot of water within it.

    3)      Keep your blood sugars stable earlier in the day so you can control your cravings later in the day. This can be done by using your personal eating guide to get the right portions of carbohydrate, protein and produce to you don't feel hungry in the afternoon.

    As a little extra: have you ever noticed that you can get sick after going out for a few drinks with friends?

    The acidity of alcohol causes your body to become an acidic environment.  Bacteria and viruses struggle to survive in an alkaline environment (more on this during the winter blogs) so when you have alcohol and eat foods that lack nutrients your immune system increases the risk of being attacked.  Hence if you eat healthy 80% of the time you create a healthy body that can handle what your lifestyle throws at it. This applies to stress as well because anything that increases the acidity of your body increases the risk of illness, sickness and not getting results.

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