Triglycerides Lowering Diet: Limit or Avoid Beer
Some people have increased susceptibility to developing raised triglycerides in response to alcohol. So if you do not require insulin, or are not a diabetic, and consume alcohol regularly, you may be able to lower your elevated triglycerides just by avoiding beer.
The liver can detoxify about 1 serving (12 ounces) of beer per hour - equivalent to 1 serving of an alcoholic beverage or 4 ounces of wine.
In the meantime, however, glucose tends to be further processed into triglycerides which raises their blood levels (some drinks may contain fruit, syrups, or other additives that increase their carbohydrate count, thus, triglyceride levels).
It brings up two general misconceptions about beer drinking.
First, that beer is harmless, because it's only 5-6 percent alcohol, compared to 40 percent for whiskey. Not quite so. Keep in mind, there's as much alcohol in a can beer as in a shot of whiskey. Additionally, regular beer contains both alcohol and carbohydrates.
Second, consuming the beer over a long period of time will have little effect on one's sobriety. Not so. It takes hours for the body to eliminate even small amounts of alcohol.
So, if you are a six-pack-a-day person, by the time you pop the last can of beer at the end of the day, your blood alcohol level may be dangerously high.
More Reasons to Avoid or Limit Alcohol
Many people take alcohol in amounts far beyond that which is needed to produce the social benefits. In fact, 10 percent of all alcohol consumers in the United States (10 million people) cannot limit their amount of alcohol use.
Some people may crave alcohol because they are allergic to the grains, grapes, or yeast from which the beverages are made. As with other food allergies, the sufferer may crave the food to which he or she is allergic. Thus, alcohol abuse in some people may be a manifestation of an underlying medical problem.
Alcohol itself has no particular nutritive value. It contains almost twice the calories of protein and carbohydrate foods (7 calories per gram). Unfortunately, these are empty calories.
Alcohol, like a simple sugar, is readily digested and easily absorbed from the gastro-intestinal tract so it rapidly affects the blood sugar level after ingestion. Like other sugars, it increases hypoglycemia symptoms. Its excessive use can increase anxiety and mood swings.
Once absorbed and assimilated, alcohol is metabolized primarily by the liver and used immediately as energy or stored in the liver or in the rest of the body as fat.
Unfortunately, the liver cannot convert alcohol to a storage form of carbohydrates, such as glucose, which would be much more beneficial. As a result, with excessive alcohol use, the amount of fat stored in the liver increases.
Excessive intake of alcohol, however, can overwhelm the liver's ability to process it, leading to toxic byproducts.
Too much alcohol can also impede the body's ability to detoxify other chemicals including drugs, hormones such as estrogen, and pesticides that we take into our bodies by choice or through environmental contact. As a result, toxic levels of these chemicals can build up in the body.
In addition, alcohol has a diuretic effect on the body. So, its excessive intake can dehydrate the skin and tissues.
Alcohol's diuretic effect also causes the loss of excessive amounts of essential minerals through the urinary tract, minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and zinc.
Alcohol potentiates the toxicity of cholesterol-lowering medications much more than the drugs would do alone. Actually, this is the major problem with the statins - a class of drugs used in the standard medical treatment of elevated blood fats (hyperlipidemia), such as Lescol, Lipitor, or Zocor.
By drinking alcohol daily, you may increase your chances of serious statin side effects, especially liver problems. Therefore, to protect your liver, you should go easy on alcohol or avoid it completely while taking a statin drug.
Alcohol also irritates the lining of the upper digestive tract, including the esophagus, stomach, and upper part of the small intestine. It also causes irritation and inflammation of the pancreas.
Over time, this can result in worsening of hypoglycemia and diabetes, as well as impaired absorption and assimilation of essential nutrients from the small intestine, such as B vitamins, necessary to stabilize these conditions.
Regular alcohol use adds calories to the diet. For example, in one study, half a bottle of white wine (39 g ethyl alcohol) consumed daily for 42 days represented the equivalent of 3 lbs. of additional weight over 6 weeks, or approximately 27 lbs per year! (Lancet. 1983; ii: 819-82).
How A Drink Can Affect Your Body?
The serving, or a 12-ounce bottle, of beer (5% alcohol) contains 0.6 ounce alcohol. The serving, or 1.5 ounce shot of whiskey (50% alcohol), contains 0.5 ounce alcohol.
It takes six bottles of 12-ounce beers containing 5 percent alcohol to equal the amount of alcohol contained in a 30-ounce bottle of wine that contains 12 percent alcohol.
Therefore, drinking beer is NOT safer than drinking wine or hard liquor such as vodka or whiskey. It is not the type of drink but rather the amount of alcohol consumed that determines the extent to which you are affected by drinking.
What about a “shot,” or 1.5 ounces, being the typical serving size for hard liquor? Mixed drinks, usually containing hard liquor, are much larger than 1.5 ounces as they have water, juice, or soft drinks. By comparison, a 12-ounce beer contains the same number of ounces of alcohol (0.6 ounces) and the rest is primarily water.
The percentage of alcohol in the drink and the serving size determine the amount of alcohol contained in an alcoholic beverage. In the United States, proof is a measure equivalent to twice the percentage of alcohol by volume; that is, an 80-proof liquor is 40 percent alcohol by volume.
Alcohol is first absorbed by the stomach and small intestine, then, incorporated into the bloodstream. Then alcohol goes to the liver, where it is metabolized (or broken down). After alcohol is metabolized, it passes through the kidneys, which process it for excretion in the urine.
The alcohol is not distributed evenly through the body - it stays in only certain types of body tissues. Its concentration is higher in the person with more body fat (same amount of alcohol in a lower total volume). This means that the higher-body-fat person is more affected by a given dose of alcohol than a lean person of the same size. Because females, on average, have more body fat than males, they tend to feel the effects of alcohol more readily than do men.
However, it is not possible to tell just by appearance how you will be affected by alcohol. Two people of the same size or weight may have different amounts of body fat.
Also the body size accounts for our variation in response to alcohol. A larger body means a greater blood volume for alcohol distribution as compared with a smaller body size with an equal body fat content. Thus, in general, a larger person will be less influenced by a given alcohol dose than a smaller person will.
However, the effects of alcohol on the body are more complex than body size and amount of body fat. Although females are usually smaller than males and have higher levels of body fat, a comparison strictly on the basis of gender is not accurate.
The Risky Beer Belly
Actually, it can forecast a cardiologist in your future as the bulging stomach is also associated with a higher risk of high blood pressure and even certain forms of cancer.
“Hundreds of studies have led to the conclusion that any fat [in excess] can be problematic, but it’s much, much more dangerous when it’s accumulated in the abdomen,” said Dr Jeffrey Flier, researcher at the prestigious Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.
How big is big?
Usually, dangers begin to emerge in men who have a belly that measures more than 37 inches, or 94 cm around the middle.
Not All Bellies Created Equal
Unfortunately beer bellies usually come with their close relatives - love handles. Those wobbly stubborn pieces of fat on the sides of the waist. No matter what you do, they don’t seem to go away.
For many men, the first signs of this unholy spread, usually appears at middle age, making a midlife crisis also a midriff crisis. The bills for the excesses committed in the twenties and thirties - late nights, boozing, no exercise - start to pile up. At midlife all the old programming goes haywire. The joke has a cruel new punch line: suddenly V-shaped bodies turn into apples and parallel lines become circles.
Nature’s Little Twist
Both men and women tend to put on weight, although in different parts of the body. Men tend to grow fat around the stomach and women on their hips, thighs and bottoms.
However, the fat that women accumulate on hips and thighs is not dangerous to health—but it’s almost impossible to lose. The fat that men accumulate on stomachs is much more dangerous to health—but easier to get rid off.
How? A beer belly could have a lot to do with beer, which - like most alcohol - is oozing with calories. But that’s only part of the story. Researchers have found that apart from adding calories to the diet, alcohol also prevents the burning of fat.
According to a Swiss study reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association, booze in the blood stream can slow down fat metabolism more than 30 percent. Plus, beer drinkers don’t just drink beer - they have it with chips and peanuts, all nibbling their way into the belly, making it bigger and bigger.
If you don’t watch it, a belly can quickly inch its way into the cardiac zone of horrors: hypertension, diabetes, heart attacks. All of which of course makes you want to cry into your beer. And then denies you the beer to cry into.
The Binge Belly (New Study)
According to a new U.S. study on how drinking alcohol affects the accumulation of abdominal fat, or 'central adiposity' - an important risk factor for cardiovascular diseases - binge drinking is more responsible for beer bellies than beer itself. Therefore, the unhealthy beer belly, or ‘beer gut’, might be better known as a 'binge belly.'
This comprehensive, epidemiological study, involving 2,343 randomly selected men and women aged between 35 and 79, has found those who drank small amounts of alcohol regularly had the smallest beer bellies, while sporadic but intense drinking - involving more than three to four drinks on each occasion - resulted in the biggest bellies, stomachs sagging over the belts.
The researchers collected information on how much and how often people had drunk during the past 30 days, what type of alcohol it was and whether they drank it with or without food.
What they have found is that men and women who drank infrequently but heavily had more abdominal fat than people who consumed the same amount but drank regularly. In other words, the more drinks per drinking day, the higher the abdominal measurement.
Definitely, the way we drink is as important as the amount of alcohol we consume and binge drinking is an unhealthy way of consuming alcohol. It does not mean, however, that persons with abdominal fat should start drinking.
Also the type of alcohol consumed seems to make a difference: wine drinkers had the lowest abdominal height and drinkers of spirits had the highest. And strong spirits were much more likely than beer to cause beer bellies.
It should be added that, despite their huge bellies, men often have very thin arms and legs, Unfortunately, the abdominal fat causing the problem in this condition lies not only under the skin, but also in the internal cavity of the abdomen itself.
The study was funded by a grant from the U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
Excess Weight as Disease
There is a common misconception – shared by both patients and doctors - that excess weight is nothing to worry about until high blood pressure and poor cholesterol develop, and those can then be treated with medications.
Obesity has not been hyped. In fact, it should be defined as a disease - a real public health crisis.
Middle-aged people who are obese - or grossly overweight - are over 40 percent more likely than normal-weight people to die of heart disease. They are also four times as likely to be hospitalized for heart disease.
As pointed out by researchers and obesity experts, fat tissue is not like an inert storage depot. It is a very dynamic organ that is actually producing hormones and chemical messengers. And even without elevating blood pressure or cholesterol, these substances can
In other words, being too fat causes cardiovascular problems and excess weight alone is an independent risk factor for heart attacks, strokes and diabetes.
So, if you are an overweight middle-aged individual with normal blood pressure and cholesterol levels you are kidding yourself if you think your health is just fine. You need to pay strict attention to your weight even if you do not have an unhealthy risk factor profile yet.