Alcohol: Good or Bad?

Alcohol: Good or Bad?
Alcohol is made from the sugar of grains, fruits, and others foods by fermentation.
Moderate (up to two servings for women and up to three servings for men) daily alcohol consumption protects against heart disease and stroke by increases the production of good cholesterol (HDL). Red wine, as an added benefit, decreases the production of bad cholesterol (LDL).
One serving contains 10 grams of alcohol. The sizes are:
- 5 oz or 1 glass of 12% wine (white & red)
- 12 oz or 1 glass of 5% beer
- 1.5 oz of spirituous or a shot of 40% alcohol (whisky, vodka, rum, & gin)
Alcohol can however damage your health if you drink up to five servings per day. Regular heavy consumption is harmful and may cause:
- alcoholism
- high blood pressure
- stroke
- breast, bladder, throat and stomach cancer
- disorders of central nervous system
- cirrhosis of the liver
- vitamin and mineral deficiency diseases
- asocial relations
- death
Each gram of alcohol provides 7 calories. When drank in moderation, alcohol is used as an energy source; however, if your total calories intake for the day is too high, you will stock alcohol as fat. Pregnant women should avoid alcohol.
Write down the days you've drank alcohol last week. For each day, note how many servings you've had (the size of a serving is described above) and check if the daily total is above 2 (for women) or 3 (for men). If so, your drinking is harmful to your health and fat loss.
If you drink too much, next time you're about to pop up that 4th beer, think: "What's more important to me, this beer or losing fat?". Trade your regular beer for a light beer or plain water. Another trick is to order glasses instead of pints.

De Oliveira E, Silva ER, Foster D, McGee HM, Seidman CE, Smith JD, Breslow JL, Brinton EA. Alcohol consumption raises HDL cholesterol levels by increasing the transport rate of apolipoproteins A-I and A-II. Circulation (2000) 102:2347-2352.

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