Back To Basics – Alcohol

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 that 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 in adults which seems to get the most reaction is when I say it is 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 general health. Just a few social drinks each weekend can prevent the achievement of big and small health goals.

Due to my extensive education in nutrition and how the body works, I have always felt strongly about cutting the alcohol when it comes to living a truly healthy, all-natural whole-food lifestyle. 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 current statistics when it comes to alcohol consumption in the average American adult and the affects 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 stand point, alcohol tanks anything being done. The sugar and carbohydrates destroy the hard work done in daily workouts and/or in daily diet. Yes, this is true NO MATTER WHAT FORM OF ALCOHOL is chosen to be consumed.

Aside from the more well-known fact that alcohol is a major contributing factor in pancreatitis, heart disease, liver disease, diabetes, breast cancer, and oral cancer, there are several that are less known which also have a major impact on the 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 by symptoms ranging from distorted taste, tooth decay, and esophageal/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 realize this advice does not 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