Here to talk to you about happy hour today!
One of my favorite macronutrients (second to carbs): alcohol. I was shocked to find out that alcohol is considered a macro, along with protein, carbs, and fat, NOT because it’s nutritious (spoiler: it’s not), but because it’s consumed in large amounts. oops.
What is moderation?
Moderate drinking is 1 drink/day for women, and 2 drinks/day for men, not because the laws of drinking are sexist, but because men typically have more lean body mass, which makes the alcohol easier to metabolize.
What’s considered “a drink”?
I didn’t make the rules, Sandy; The CDC did, and they say that a drink is:
– 12 oz of beer with 5% alcohol content, or
– 8 oz of malt liquor
– 5 oz wine
-1.5 oz of 80 proof distilled spirits or liquor, like whiskey, gin, rum, or vodka
What’s heavy drinking?
-more than 8 drinks/week for women
-more than 15 drinks/week for men
^that seems unfair, right? But I digress.
What’s binge drinking?
-more than 4 drinks in a single occasion for women
-more than 5 drinks in a single occasion for me
I was also mildly taken aback when I read THAT ^ was what was considered binge drinking. In my earlier twenties, I spent so much time technically binge drinking on patios, at the beach, while studying, etc. Also- if you think you’re being easy on your liver by binge drinking, but not heavy drinking over time- that is incorrect! When we get drunk, we activate a secondary system in our liver called the MEOS pathway to metabolize alcohol- this takes a LOT of energy, and our bodies preferentially metabolize alcohol over pain meds, etc to remove it from our body as efficiently as possible. This will enable meds to remain in your body longer since your body is a little preoccupied with getting rid of the alcohol, so be vigilant! Know if your meds are metabolized by your liver before drinking. Does your RX bottle warn you about drinking? Part of drinking is being responsible, and that includes knowing how your medications work in your body.
I have since slowed down substantially on drinking; it disagrees with my ulcerative colitis situation on many occasions (alcohol kills GI cells!), and I’m at point where I’d rather be pain-free than buzzed. Plus, as it turns out, combating depression and anxiety with alcohol is maybe not the best idea.
“But I thought red wine was good for you?“
Not untrue! This study mentions resveratrol and potentially other polyphenols in wine that have anti-inflammatory benefits. However, there is no evidence that you should start drinking if you don’t- you can achieve health with a mostly healthy, consistent diet alone, without help from alcohol. Similar results were found in this study– where the good parts of wine alone weren’t helpful in improving longevity, cancer outcomes, or inflammation with a Western (aka mostly American) diet. Bottom line: red wine, in combination with a healthy overall diet, like the Mediterranean diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, is beneficial for overall and cardiovascular health, but not wine by itself.
red wine + healthy diet with fruits, veggies, whole grains = healthy
red wine + cheeseburgers + fries + rarely if ever fruits, veggies, whole grains = not ideal for health
-we can’t rely on red wine alone to save our diets and remove our risk factors for diseases, sadly.
And if there’s a takeaway from this post- it’s everything in moderation. I even defined moderation for you! Technically, the CDC did, but you can reference it here. 🙂
Unfortunately, I haven’t found any studies about the health effects of margaritas. But when I do, you’ll be the first to know. Who knows, maybe margaritas are the next superfoods smoothie?!
Here’s to wishful thinking.