one man's ceiling
Thursday, February 22, 2007
  the alcohol metabolism thing

having given up pasta for lent inspired my zuska to give up her much-loved wine for the next 39 days or so. she posted about it here. she mentions that i had long suggested that eliminating alcohol would help in her quest to lose weight as it effects metabolism.

in the comments one of her faithful readers demanded, nay SHOUTED at me to site my sources. it's funny, because you accumulate knowledge over a long period of time and you just get to the point where you accept your knowledge as fact. then one day someone says "oh yeah? prove it, pasta boy!" and then you think hmm, where did i hear that? was it someplace credible, or did some homeless guy on the street shout that at me one day and it just lodged itself into the fact-y part of my gray matter?

this was one of those times where i love the internet.

after a few minutes of searching (something that could have been done in the time it takes to SCREAM AT ME to cite sources) i accumulated the following quick response (if you've zoomed over to zuska's site, or read it already, you can skip ahead):
two general problems with alcohol: it provides empty calories (they have no nutritional benefit) that the body cannot convert into energy and it weakens the liver which is the primary organ for dealing with fat metabolism. in addition, alcohol is full of sugars, stimulates the appetite, and prevents the body from recognizing when it has been sated, especially by fats, allowing for an over-stimulated appetite and excess eating.

all things you'd want to avoid if you were trying to lose weight.

general stuff here on diets and alcohol
www.jrussellshealth.com/alcwt.html

i find dr. weil fairly credible
www.drweil.com/drw/u/id/QAA360805

here the point is that while alcohol itself doesn't add to weight increase in and of itself, the addition of alcohol to a person trying to lose weight is negatively impacted
alcoholism.about.com/cs/alerts/l/blnaa35.htm

yes, it's thin on supporting documentation, but consistent WITH WHAT MY DOCTOR ONCE TOLD ME
www.bodytrends.com/articles/diet/performnut.asp

here we get a report that says alcohol increases metabolism, but in doing so slows down the ability to burn off fat
www.thefactsaboutfitness.com/research/alcohol.htm

more of the same
www.drgillianmckeith.com/nutrition-weightloss.php

what i have found is that nay-sayers tend to suggest that alcohol in moderation is fine, and there are those studies showing the medicinal benefits of red wine, but the fact remains that alcohol has more going against it than for it in a person looking to modify their diet and or weight. zuska gets more benefit out of the cup of red grapes i put in her morning smoothie than she would in a glass of wine at the end of the day -- nutritional benefits of the grapes, medicinal from the skin, and lower in calories.

is this enough documentation?
looking over the various sources i can safely say the two primary points (i don't know which came first) were dr. dean ornish's and dr. andrew weil's work. ornish is a physician whose worked at the preventative research institute where he pioneered a study where people lost weight and reversed the effects of heart disease simply by changing their diet. dr. weil is a harvard educated physician who has been espousing the effects of spontaneous healing of a variety of minor and chronic ailments through the uses of alternative medicines, natural remedies and dietary changes as well. ornish initially may have alerted me to the idea that food isn't the enemy, and weil finally broke down my resistance to eastern and alternative medicines.

i hate to take such defensive stances on things, or beat them into the ground, but i was forced. had one harmless error not shouted at me i would never have been compelled to go digging. and as a former twenty-something know-it-all i can remember just how resistant i was to ideas that shattered the very foundations of my long-held (occasionally hyper-ignorant) beliefs. my current stance on such things is to let them brush past with a knowing laugh, but once i get shouted at, well, the gloves come off.



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Comments:
Hey! Leave my readers alone! God knows you're trained well enough to handle shouting, stop treating it like a capital offense.
 
just to be clear...

I was hyper-ignorant, and i should mention stubborn in addition to everything else i have (or may still have) been.

and by well, trained, you mean my years as a public school teacher, right?
 
of course not, silly :) I was referring to your ETERNITY of living with the girls and I!!
 
Hey there-

Blogging is such a weird thing- Found your blog vis Zuska/PO'ed Housewife's blog-

Anyway- I have lost 60 some odd pounds over the last three years- Of course the last year I became vegan, which I am still not wild about (not because of what I am food, but because of the baggage that comes with it)

The best book out there is Dieting for Dummies, hands down-

If you need any suggestions I am happy to help..

Take care,

AC.
 
thanks for the comment!

zuska's working the diet thing seriously right now and i'm just easing into it. i know from experience that (a) it's best to just make the radical changes up front and (b)that i'm just being lazy.

after a bout of pneumonia i was forced onto a radical diet that made veganism look like paradise. and i, too, lost a lot of weight, but never as much as when i was able to run an hour every day. that was back when i still had working knees.

anyway, thanks again
 
Never had knee problems- for my age I feel lucky about that.

Every male friend I know seems to either have knee problems, kidney stones or prostrate issues-

Growing old is so much fun.
 
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