Health Effects of Alcohol

wineHow Much is Too Much?

It’s almost Friday night! You know I am all about giving you the GOOD stuff! Especially when it comes to great food and great…… Ok, wine!

We have known for a long time now that moderate alcohol use has been linked with a lower risk of heart disease. (Low to moderate use is usually defined as 1 or 2 drinks a day for a man or 1 drink a day for a woman)

Alcohol, especially wine, can be a wonderful source of pleasure and enhancement of your food! But, what if you frequently enjoy more than that?

Here is what you need to know.

Alcohol and Your Blood Sugar

Alcohol negatively impacts your blood sugar by increasing insulin secretion. Let me explain.

We have blood sugar, also called blood glucose that is used for energy and growth. Blood glucose comes from the foods that we eat, but also can be stored in our muscles as in glycogen. It also can be made from other nutrients in the body. The hormones that maintain a healthy blood sugar are insulin and glucagon. When your blood sugar drops, your body actually responds by either making more sugar or burning up stored sugar. When your blood sugar starts to rise, more insulin is secreted to bring your levels back to a healthy state.

Studies have shown that alcohol interferes with all three sources of glucose – food, synthesis in the body and the breakdown of glycogen, as well as the hormones needed to maintain healthy blood glucose levels. The greatest impact is seen in those who drink heavily on a frequent basis. Heavy drinkers deplete their glycogen stores within a few hours when their diet does not provide a sufficient amount of carbohydrates. Over time, excessive alcohol consumption can decrease insulin’s effectiveness, resulting in high blood sugar levels..

Alcohol, Inflammation and Aging

Many people don’t realize that controlling your blood sugar is critical for maintaining an anti-inflammatory state, and this inflammation leads to every one of the major chronic diseases of aging — heart disease, cancer, diabetes, dementia, and more. It’s also by far the major contributor to obesity. Being overweight is being inflamed — period!

Alcohol and Cancer Risk

Alcohol also increases the risk of cancer. Researchers have shown the following:

• Ethanol in alcohol breaks down into acetaldehyde, a toxic chemical know to damage both DNA and proteins.

• Alcohol can damage DNA, proteins and lipids by causing a process called oxidation.

• Alcohol can impair the body’s ability to metabolize and absorb a variety of nutrients that may be associated with your risk of cancer. These are: Vitamins A, B Complex, C, E and carotenoids.

• Alcohol may raise body levels of estrogen, a hormone important in the growth and development of breast tissue. This may have an effect on a woman’s risk of breast cancer.

• Too much alcohol can add extra calories to the diet, which can contribute to weight gain in some people. Being overweight or obese is known to increase the risks of many types of cancer.

So what to do?

Here’s some help from Harvard School of Public Health.

Some other good info:

Cat Dillon

This blog is my journal, where I share everything wellness. From tips on healthy lifestyle to creating as much deliciousness in your life as possible.

Cat Dillon is the Cat in Caterpillar Nutrition and Wellness.

Caterpillar Nutrition and Wellness is a unique combo of nutrition, fitness and cooking coaching all in one pretty package. Read more about Caterpillar Nutrition and Wellness.

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