Sunday, December 30, 2012

Liquid Nourishment: Wine, Beer and Alcohol


We're still on the topic of liquid nourishment and we need to discuss wine, beer and alcohol, probably the second hardest "thing to give up".  I've said it;  "thing".  It's a thing, it's not a vitamin, a mineral or an essential nutrient.  You CAN live without it.  It's not essential for your health.  Since nourishment is defined as essential for growth, health and good condition, we need to look further in order to make an educated decision.  Do wine, beer and alcohol promote growth?  NO.  Do wine, beer and alcohol promote health?  MAYBE.  Do wine, beer and alcohol promote good condition, NO.  Let's take a look at the health benefits of wine.

Again, I won't tell you what you can and cannot drink.  You are going to make that decision based upon the facts and what's right for you.

I will merely inform you what is considered nourishment for the body.  There are only trace "nutrients" in beer and wine, despite being mostly water.  Look at the pictures (source nutritiondata.self.com) which clearly show nutrients.  I used this picture to show how very little nutrients are in alcohol compared to eating quality food such as kale, for example.

On one hand, a glass of wine, red wine especially, has been touted for it's health benefits, including it's antioxidant qualities, it's ability to help reduce heart disease, and even fight certain cancers.  Beer has even been proven to help lower LDL cholesterol and may help prevent some heart disease.  But, again, we're not talking about the disease fighting benefits of alcohol.  We're talking about nourishment.

On the other seven hands, we can count the negative "virtues" of alcohols, especially, the fact that alcohols are a sugar, which, when in excess is stored as fat.  These sugars wreck havoc with insulin levels and diabetics.  These sugars lead to belly fat.  Then, we can also talk about "when one is not enough"...which leads to two or even three drinks.  But, that's another discussion on addiction and the emotional attachment associated with a "buzz", "relaxation" and/or social or binge drinking.

So, for the purposes of the 365fitt Nourishment 30 Day Challenge, beer, wine will be considered non-nutritive.  However, they do provide some health benefits.  If you choose to drink wine (because I don't think you can make a persuasive argument for beer being nourishment) for the health benefits that's fine.  I would make sure that you are not getting those same benefits from other sources.  

"I would never suggest anyone start drinking just to get some perceived health benefits, many of which are contradicted by certain studies, because it is just such a slippery slope. Any health benefits of wine can quickly turn into health risks with over consumption. Red wine is essentially made from the entire red grape, and the resveratrol in the wine comes from the skin of the grape, so I would start by including more grapes of all colors into your diet. It'd be better to hedge your bets and consume a diet rich in many fruits and veggies instead of turning just to one source." Roger Lawson
If you eat grapes, which are high in antioxidants, are you are getting all the health benefits of wine, without the alcohol? This article might indicate that the alcohol is partially responsible for production of interleukin-10, an anti-inflammatory.  Then again, you can eat foods that provide the same benefits.  Here's a list (link).
 
Again, whether you choose to consume alcohol as part of the 365fitt Nourishment 30 Day Challenge is up to you.  I believe that alcohol is NOT necessary for nourishment, but, rather, it's something that you enjoy in social situations, to relax, and/or for the "buzz".  

Soberly,
Coach Kathy

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