A food as defined in most literature is a substance which nourishes the body in four ways: 1. It supplies energy or calories when burned or oxidized. 2. It provides materials for building and upkeep of body tissues. 3. It furnishes means by which body processes are regulated. 4.
It provides material, which may be stored as glycogen, fat or protein, or normal body structure, and is non-toxic in nutritionally significant amounts.
However, Alcohol supplies only calories, and it causes intoxication when taken, as ordinary food is taken, namely, in amounts sufficient to produce enough calories to be nutritionally significant. So, alcohol is not a food or is not a good nutrient.
If alcohol is a food, or a good nutrient we are not treating babies, children and dogs rightly. Also the authors of our textbooks on nutrition are seriously at fault because they do not even list alcohol in their tables of contents.
The effects of alcohol are subtractive. Alcohol takes away, but it never adds or supplements. An exchange says: “Alcohol will remove the stains from summer clothes; which is correct. It will do even better than that. It will remove:
The summer clothes
The winter clothes
The spring clothes
The fall clothes
Not only from the back of the man who drinks, but from his wife and children as well.
“Alcohol will also subtract from you:
A good reputation,
A thriving business,
A man’s best friends,
A happy look from children’s faces,
Prosperity from a prosperous man,
A man from respectable society,
A man from the highway to heaven, and make a wildcat out of an otherwise inoffensive citizen .
In other words of explaining the poisonous effects of alcohol is that -Ethanol, the chemical compound present in most alcoholic drinks, is a neurotoxin. That is, a substance that can damage or destroy the nervous system. Someone who is drunk is, in fact, suffering from a form of poisoning. In large quantities ethanol causes coma and death. Prior to this otherwise is that, if alcohol is consumed at a faster rate than the body can handle it, ethanol builds up in the system and begins to interfere noticeably with brain function.
Speech, vision, coordination, thought, and behavior are all connected with an incredibly complex series of chemical reactions in the brain’s neurons, or key cells. The presence of ethanol modifies those reactions, suppressing or enhancing the role of certain neurotransmitters (chemicals) that relay signals from neuron to neuron. The stream of information in the brain is thus altered, preventing the brain from functioning normally. That is why when a person drinks too much, he or she develops slurred speech, blurred vision, sluggish movement, and weakened behavioral restraints and inhibitions which are all common symptoms of intoxication.
With prolonged exposure to alcohol, brain chemistry adapts to counter the poisonous effect of ethanol and to maintain normal nerve function. This leads to tolerance, whereby the same amount of alcohol has less of an effect than it would have had previously. Dependence occurs when the brain has adapted so much to the presence of alcohol that it cannot operate properly without it. The body craves alcohol to maintain the chemical balance. When a person is deprived of alcohol, his brain chemistry is totally destabilized and withdrawal symptoms, such as anxiety, trembling, or even seizures, set in.
Besides causing modifications of brain chemistry, alcohol abuse can lead to cell atrophy and destruction, altering the brain’s very structure. While partial recovery is possible with abstinence, some of this damage seems to be irreversible, further affecting memory and other cognitive functions. Damage to the brain is not just the result of long-term exposure to alcohol. Research seems to indicate that even relatively short periods of alcohol abuse can be harmful.
Scientists suspect that chemicals in red wine (polyphenols) inhibit a chemical that causes blood vessels to constrict.
Furthermore, alcohol in general has been linked to increased levels of so-called good cholesterol. It also reduces substances that can cause blood clots.
In summary, any benefits from alcohol seem to involve drinking small amounts spread throughout the week, rather than the total amount all at once on a night out. Exceeding two drinks per day is linked to increases in blood pressure, and heavy drinking raises the risk of stroke and can cause swelling of the heart as well as irregular heartbeat. Immoderate drinking causes these and other health risks to outweigh any positive effects of alcohol on the cardiovascular system. Too much of a good thing is precisely that too much. We hope this article has in a way helped to educate us all on the dangers of alcohol abuse.
JONES H. MUNANG’ANDU (author)
Motivational speaker, health commentator &
Email; [email protected]Skype id; jones .muna
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