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To drink or not to drink: Alcohol

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created August 21, 2013 at 5:16 PM

This isn't totally a paleo question but I find that the wisdom and practicality of people on this forum often surprise me. So, what's your take? Have any of you done extensive, technical research 'round the web?

For me, I'm pretty sure "none" isn't going to happen. But should it? How much is too much? what is moderation? What about frequency of use? I don't do binge drinking but like to have fun now and then.

I'm a healthy 28 year old. I have been a nightly, responsible drinker for 8-10 years (yeah, since before I turned 21). On a few occasions I have been "drunk" and I have even gotten sick but that's not my way (learn lessons fast). I tend to drink 2-4 drinks a night, hovering closer to 3 these days. This is down from the 4-6 I used to have almost nightly. A lot of health recommendations say 1-2 but, really, where's the fun in that?

I'd prefer that any emotional or faith-based responses be omitted. I'm fairly technical and so are many PaleoHackers so don't be afraid to get nerdy with me.

048dd52752c45129c1212bfffb37ca72

(3150)

on August 23, 2013
at 07:21 AM

Yes I know about the toxic properties of vegetables, in fact it makes me feel uneasy that there's no single food (even plant foods!) that have some drawbacks, let it be goitrogens, saponins, lectins, phytates, mercury contamination on seafood, pesticides, antibiotics, heterocyclic amines from heating meat, nitrites, etc... but well, all this is on paper, still not clear how affects us in a measurable way, but, at least, I don't seem to feel bad eating a lot of veggies as I do with a little bit of alcohol so maybe the hormetic effect from greens is acceptable where from alcohol's not worth it?

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on August 22, 2013
at 11:33 PM

Whiskey is mostly alcohol, without the sugars.

Medium avatar

(624)

on August 22, 2013
at 10:58 PM

I should get some bloodwork. but I'll wait until I've been wolfing down the saturated fats and red meats for a couple months to really get a good idea what I'm doing to my body. And yeah, no worries, I eat my fruit and veggies too.

Medium avatar

(624)

on August 22, 2013
at 10:40 PM

I'm trying to accomplish extreme health and longevity while enjoying life. I'm not interested in freaking out over fitness and doing crossfit 20 hours a week. I just want to enjoy life, look good, and not die for a very, very, VERY long time. Oh, and perhaps most importantly, to preserve my cognitive function.

Medium avatar

(624)

on August 22, 2013
at 10:38 PM

In response to "the dose makes the poison" I'm interested in the hormetic effects of alcohol in moderation. Paleo is a fairly hormetic lifestyle and I suggest anyone on paleo look into hormesis, especially as a justification for all the mildly toxic veggies some of us consume. Did you know that leafy greens are fairly toxic? So are most veggies. These toxins, in small amounts, seem to boost the body in unusual ways.

Medium avatar

(624)

on August 22, 2013
at 10:34 PM

Yeah I've been having more an more 1-drink nights lately. Especially when I'm busy. Stress seems to trigger the 3-4 drink nights, naturally, and I usually kind of regret it.

Medium avatar

(624)

on August 22, 2013
at 10:32 PM

Why is whiskey better than wine? I've heard the opposite. I mostly drink liquer - usually mixed with just a little something sweet and sour but I've been trying to switch it out for wine, thinking it's more healthy...

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on August 21, 2013
at 09:36 PM

To. .

F00050d678de2dc749a86b4d3f2ffc0c

(321)

on August 21, 2013
at 05:36 PM

What is your main goal? What are you trying to accomplish? Basically, what are you asking? How much *should* you drink or how much *can* you drink?

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4 Answers

4
048dd52752c45129c1212bfffb37ca72

on August 21, 2013
at 08:22 PM

I personally see alcohol as a pretty detrimental food based on my experience from when I have some, even in few amounts: pretty fast lose of cognitive performance, drowsiness, a very heavy feeling on my legs (I'm an endurance runner yet when I drink I can barely walk!), etc... and leaving the alcohol as a substance aside, the fillers that come in most beverages are usually pretty offending also...

I used to drink often from 16 y/o to 23, then started drinking more once in a while from 24 to 28 or so but nowadays I could say I drink almost never, just the occasional wine or champagne on a celebration or special dinner, not much more. Honestly, the less I drink the better for me I have observed over the years.

Having said that, there's some evidence that small amounts can have it's beneficial properties, here's an image from Wikipedia that summarizes very well the benefits and side effects.

to-drink-or-not-to-drink:-alcohol

Despite of what the image and some research might tell, I'm very inclined to think that something is off with that studies that show that a little bit of alcohol seems to prevent CVD, most evidence seems based on observation and it could be that many other factors play as well (lets say people that drinks usually has more parties or social events and might be happier, less stressed so it has lower cortisol and this lower chronic inflammation, I'm just inventing this but hey why not?), seems odd to me that a substance that can be good for T2D in small amounts then becomes so bad in large amounts... I know 'the dose makes the poison think' but honestly I prefer food/drinks that are good at any dose, they're plenty...

I must admit I have not researched a lot on alcohol so take this as the thinking loud of the average PH layperson. For me, I still think that I'll look for the benefits elsewhere, but I guess once in a while won't hurt a lot, for me that 'small' amount would be 1 or 2 in a month, but that's really based on my personal experience as I see alcohol as something as offending as grains or legumes or simple sugars or oxidized omega 6's... but I understand it might not apply to many other people that does just fine with their occasional (or regular) drink.

Medium avatar

(624)

on August 22, 2013
at 10:38 PM

In response to "the dose makes the poison" I'm interested in the hormetic effects of alcohol in moderation. Paleo is a fairly hormetic lifestyle and I suggest anyone on paleo look into hormesis, especially as a justification for all the mildly toxic veggies some of us consume. Did you know that leafy greens are fairly toxic? So are most veggies. These toxins, in small amounts, seem to boost the body in unusual ways.

048dd52752c45129c1212bfffb37ca72

(3150)

on August 23, 2013
at 07:21 AM

Yes I know about the toxic properties of vegetables, in fact it makes me feel uneasy that there's no single food (even plant foods!) that have some drawbacks, let it be goitrogens, saponins, lectins, phytates, mercury contamination on seafood, pesticides, antibiotics, heterocyclic amines from heating meat, nitrites, etc... but well, all this is on paper, still not clear how affects us in a measurable way, but, at least, I don't seem to feel bad eating a lot of veggies as I do with a little bit of alcohol so maybe the hormetic effect from greens is acceptable where from alcohol's not worth it?

1
C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on August 21, 2013
at 06:02 PM

It really depends on the types of beverage you are consuming. Three glasses of wine is better than three beers, but worse than three shots of vodka or whiskey.

As a side note, what is "more fun" in having one more drink?

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on August 22, 2013
at 11:33 PM

Whiskey is mostly alcohol, without the sugars.

Medium avatar

(624)

on August 22, 2013
at 10:32 PM

Why is whiskey better than wine? I've heard the opposite. I mostly drink liquer - usually mixed with just a little something sweet and sour but I've been trying to switch it out for wine, thinking it's more healthy...

0
Af679502f1e31c0c59c79bd08f324b35

on August 21, 2013
at 10:57 PM

I feel guilty as hell now when I drink. When I'm with the guys and I know its a drink all day deal it doesn't bother me but the sit at home after work and drink kind of nights are becoming less and less. I had less than a full glass of wine last night with dinner and I was content.

Medium avatar

(624)

on August 22, 2013
at 10:34 PM

Yeah I've been having more an more 1-drink nights lately. Especially when I'm busy. Stress seems to trigger the 3-4 drink nights, naturally, and I usually kind of regret it.

0
4610451431ec7155c87a5698be682a95

(1122)

on August 21, 2013
at 07:36 PM

It also depends on "quality of life" and whether or not the drinks add or detract from yours. Like the above comment....what are you after? You say you are healthy. Are your liver enzymes in good shape? Blood glucose levels all right? I love single malt and will never not drink it. We only get one go 'round : )

Medium avatar

(624)

on August 22, 2013
at 10:58 PM

I should get some bloodwork. but I'll wait until I've been wolfing down the saturated fats and red meats for a couple months to really get a good idea what I'm doing to my body. And yeah, no worries, I eat my fruit and veggies too.

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