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  • Issa Aviles

On Drinking Alcohol



I love wine. I'll have a glass maybe 2-3 times a week after dinner, while sharing stories of the day with my hubby. Sometimes I'll have a sip of whiskey with my brothers during family dinners. Beer on the other hand, is off the menu, mostly because -- as with anything that contains gluten -- I'd rather avoid the bloat.

What I always keep in mind is that alcohol is "first to burn", meaning that before you can even begin to metabolize carbs, protein and fat from everything else you eat and drink, you have to burn through the alcohol first. So I know if the scale nudges upwards, alcohol is also the first to go.

Recently I was made aware of a new study that sought to determine to what extent moderate alcohol consumption could be beneficial to health. We've all been told that certain kinds of alcohol -- red wine, for example -- have health benefits when taken in moderation, moderation being commonly defined as a glass a day. This study, however, says that there is NO amount of alcohol that is beneficial. Zero.

There's also a second study done in 19 high-income countries and involving over half a million subjects, that concludes that for current drinkers (at least in those 19 countries), the threshold for lowest risk of all-cause mortality was about 100 g/week. Hmm.

A couple of things to note:

1. What does 100g of alcohol per week even look like? It's roughly a 5-ounce glass of wine (or a 12-oz can of beer, or a 1.5 oz shot of whiskey) every day for 1 week.

2. What kind of drinks do the studies refer to? The summaries at least don't specify the types of drinks and lump everything together. Ethanol is ethanol.

So it seems that:

1. No alcohol is best for health, and if you're a non-drinker then stay one.

2. If you're already a regular drinker (and you live in a high-income country, haha I guess that rules us out), then you've got a threshold of 100g per week to look out for.

100g of alcohol per week seems pretty high to me (that's 700 calories from alcohol for you to burn through!) and we cannot NOT distinguish between the types of drinks. A classic margarita on the rocks (4 oz) would easily have 12g of sugar and about 148 calories. That's 10 times the sugar content of a standard 5oz serving of red wine with 1.2g of sugar and 125 calories. Meanwhile, a 4.5oz pina colada would have 31g of sugar (!) and 245 calories. All these 3 drinks have roughly the same alcohol content. Ethanol may be ethanol, but not all alcoholic drinks are created equal.

But hang on...is there even a place for alcohol in a primal diet?

Let's just say that it would never be encouraged or promoted, but for people who consume it in small amounts within a larger picture of healthy eating and an active lifestyle, then it's ok to make a little room. And I'll say it again: not all alcoholic drinks are created equal. I'll stick to my red wine, thank you.

Of course, if you can do without, then that's best.

Oh and....Thank You, Feedspot!

Before I wrap this up, I'd like to give a big THANK YOU to Feedspot for including us in the Top 25 Health and Fitness blogs in the Philippines! Pleasantly surprised and very, very honored.

Cheers. :)


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