Friday, September 26, 2008

Healthy Booze?

In case you didn't know, Pierini, a regular around some fitness-oriented boards, started up an excellent blog about his efforts to stay in shape. One that I really like was his post entitled, "No Thanks, I'm an Athlete". This is his response to offers of alcohol that he subsequently refuses. I can relate to this situation. I can't recollect how many times in my short life that I've come across the odd look for refusing a drink.

I notice a trend occurring in many of the fitness magazines: Antioxidant cocktails. You know, using things like avocado, pomegranate, blueberry, etc to make booze more healthy. Then there's the health benefits of beer and wine. So, obviously this makes drinking healthy?

I don't think so. One of the most fascinating organs in your body has got to be your liver. It's the second largest organ in your body (after your skin), it can fulfill its functions at a third capacity (Maybe this is why we can drink like fish and still live?), if a section of it is removed, it is the only internal organ that will regenerate itself. We commonly think of it as a mere filter and sewage system for our blood (which it is). It has another key role that many don't know about: It squirts enzymes into the small intestine that begin the fat and carbohyrate metabolism process (yes, your gall bladder does some of this too but this is why you can survive without your gall bladder). It's also believed that it removes lactic acid build-up in your blood stream, giving you that, "second wind".

We all know that alcohol damages your liver. Now do you realize why drinking can make you gain weight or decrease your athletic performance? You're depleting your body's ability to use the food energy that you're taking in. If you can't use it, then you STORE IT... AS FAT! Hence the reason why even skinny people who drink a lot often have a roll of fat around their liver.

Now, there is a lot of junk advice out there about what you should or shouldn't eat or drink. If you ever suspect that you may have come across such advice but aren't sure, then try this:

1. Consume the suspect food or drink.
2. Wait 1-2 hours.

If you feel slow (like you ate cement) or held back from your normal performance, then it's bad for you. Don't let science tell you otherwise. You don't need science to tell you what is good or bad for your body. If you doubt what I say about that pomegranate mojito, then try this test and get back to me. Otherwise, listen to Pierini and I. Oh, and check out his blog when you get a chance.

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