By: Nick Thomas
As a certified general and sports nutritionist, I get to meet a variety of people of all ages from all walks of life. We discuss their goals; I take any food allergies into consideration and create a personalized meal plan which I know will help them best achieve their goals. This inevitably leads to a conversation about what foods to avoid in order to be successful. I always suggest avoiding sugar and processed foods, and there are a few other items on my list typically depending on each individual case. However, the number one thing which seems to get the most reaction from adults is when I say it’s best to consume NO ALCOHOL!
This is not a statement which is meant to inflict torture or take away from the enjoyment of downtime. It simply comes from my nutrition experience and desire to see my clients not only achieve their goals but be the absolute healthiest possible. Even one glass of wine or beer each night can have a drastically negative affect on your health. Just a few social drinks each weekend can prevent you from achieving your goals as fast or maybe even at all.
I have always felt strongly about cutting the alcohol when it comes to living a truly healthy, all-natural whole-food lifestyle due to my extensive education in nutrition and how the body works. However, being someone who likes to stay relevant, I recently decided it was time to do some digging in order to really get the details on what current statistics are when it comes to alcohol consumption in the average American adult and the effects it not only has on the body but on life as a whole. I was shocked by what I found.
According to The Washington Post, sixty percent of Americans 18 years or older consume zero or less than one drink on average each week. However, the top 10 percent of American adults (24 million) consume an average of 74 drinks per week or a little more than 10 drinks per day. This is absolutely staggering!
From a basic nutrition standpoint, alcohol tanks anything you are doing. The sugar and carbohydrates alone destroy the hard work you may do in daily workouts and/or in your daily diet. Yes, this is true NO MATTER WHAT FORM of alcohol you choose to consume. I think most all of us know this, so let’s move on to some of the lesser known facts.
Put aside the fact that alcohol is a major contributing factor in pancreatitis, heart disease, liver disease, diabetes, breast cancer, and oral cancer, and let’s dig into some of the not-so-talked-about effects it has on your body. The central nervous system can be affected with long-term changes such as pain; odd sensations; numbness in the hands and feet; and due to the same vascular issues, the retina in the eyes can be compromised. The digestive system can be affected with symptoms ranging from distorted taste, tooth decay, and esophageal and stomach ulcers. Finally, and maybe most importantly in today’s society, alcohol intake can severely weaken the immune system.
Now, I say again, NO ALCOHOL is best! I know this advice doesn’t make me the life of the party, but I guarantee it will make you feel better, achieve your goals, and live a longer life. So, which do you value more, some fun drinks or a long, heathy life?
By: Nick Thomas
Owner of Prime Performance Training, and Certified Sports Nutritionist