ONE might think that as long as everybody gets home without crashing their car, everybody can pat themselves on the back for drinking moderately and responsibly. But this is not so.
A talk by SimplyNature, a company that makes health supplements, titled “Drinking Moderately: How far can you go?” discussed what it meant to really drink moderately, and the bad effects of alcohol besides the occasional hangover.
“There is no upper safety limit for drinking alcohol. The safe range for drinking is zero,” said Dr. Jansen Calalan, who spoke at the webinar streamed on Facebook late last month.
He reframed the conversation into calling the low consumption of alcohol to “low-risk drinking.” For men, that’s two drinks and for women, that’s one drink within the day.
He noted the discrepancy between the recommended units of alcohol for men and women: “Women have a higher body fat percentage than men. Alcohol is stored in the fat,” said Mr. Calalan.
He pulled up a chart from the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, which detailed what exactly constitutes one drink: that’s 12 fluid ounces of beer (about a can). As the spirit gets stronger, the amount gets smaller. A drink by those measurements means five fluid ounces of wine (about a glass), eight to nine fluid ounces of malt liquor, or a 1.5 fluid ounces (about a shot) of 80-proof spirits like gin, vodka, and whisky.
Drinking just the recommended amount per day may be fine, but doing it every day won’t lower the risk of disease. These diseases are usually caused by liver damage. You get fatty liver.
“Alcohol is one of the high-calorie drinks that we have. And it gets stored in fats. It makes our liver create more fat,” he said.
From this, one can progress to liver cirrhosis (the hardening of the liver), and several types of cancer (including that of the liver). Liver damage may also eventually lead to failures of the heart and kidney.
Mr. Calalan also debunked the myth that at least red wine can be good for the heart. “It’s the grapes,” he said.
More common side effects of alcohol would include the compromission of the immune system, due to alcohol’s antiseptic qualities getting rid of good gut bacteria, as well as damaging the lining of the stomach and the intestines. Messing up with one’s sleep is a more common side effect of alcohol: “Your brain would be so active that you can’t be able to go into deep sleep,” he said, despite the misconception that alcohol knocks one out. “It’s not a great feeling.”
“As long as you don’t get to the liver cirrhosis stage, there’s still hope for you,” he said. “Just do the right thing. Live healthily, stop hurting your liver, take the proper supplements, then it can easily regenerate.” — JL Garcia