Showing posts with label Alcohol. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Alcohol. Show all posts

Nov 27, 2015

Alcohol and Calories

Good news for the holidays, a five-ounce glass of red, white, or rosé has about 100 calories per glass. Many believe wine is high in sugar because it is made from grapes, but because the fermentation process in wine-making converts sugars into alcohol. Only sweet or dessert wines are high in sugar. Wine is considered a heart healthy drink, especially red wine, which contains resveratrol, the antioxidant compound linked to heart health benefits. The American Heart Association recommends 1-2 four-ounce servings of wine per day.

Hard liquor is higher in calories per-ounce than wine, but not by much since after distillation, spirits such as vodka, whiskey, gin, and rum have nothing left but the alcohol. They contain zero carbs, which makes them a diet-friendly option, plus, the standard 1.5 ounce serving of spirits has 105 calories.

The average 12-ounce serving of beer contains 150 calories and 13g carbs, higher than wine and spirits. Choosing light versions of beer will save about 50 calories per serving and cut carbs in half. Lager and wheat beers are generally lower in both calories and carbs per serving compared to heavier beers such as ales, stouts, and porters. Beers differ in color, flavor, and consistency, and the good news all offer some nutritional value. The brewer’s yeast used to ferment beer contains B vitamins that benefit the nervous system health and reduce homocysteine, a chemical that can contribute to cardiovascular disease. Bottoms up!

Jan 23, 2015

Ten Alcohol Facts

1.) The production of alcohol has been traced back at least 12,000 years.
2.) Sherry was apparently the alcohol of choice for many world travelers; both Magellan and Columbus had it on board during their respective voyages. Magellan liked Sherry so much that he spent more money stockpiling the alcoholic beverage than he spent on weapons.
3.) Frederick the Great, who was the king of Prussia, was so enamored by alcohol that he tried to ban coffee in an attempt to get everyone in Prussia to drink liquor instead.
4.) The Pilgrims made the decision to stop at Plymouth Rock because they were running low on supplies, particularly alcohol.
5.) Winston Churchill’s mother was the inventor of the Manhattan cocktail. It is made with whiskey and sweet vermouth.
6.) Until the mid-1600′s, wine makers in France used oil soaked rags in lieu of corks.
7.) Vikings enjoyed alcohol, and they preferred to toast to their victories by drinking it from the skulls of their defeated enemies.
8.) Many historians believe that the practice of farming was not started as a means of food production, but in order to produce the necessary ingredients to create alcoholic beverages.
9.) Hangover cures date back almost as far as alcohol itself. Ancient Romans believed that eating a fried canary would take care of their hangover symptoms, and the ancient Greeks were believers in the power of cabbage. People today are still trying to find the perfect cure for a hangover. In France they put salt into a strong cup of coffee, and in Puerto Rico some drinkers lift their drinking arm and rub half a lemon under it. (None have proven to be effective).
10.) The term honeymoon traces its roots back to ancient Babylon. It was a tradition for the soon to be father-in-law to supply his daughter’s fiancé with a month’s supply of mead. This time period was referred to as the honey month, and that phrase eventually morphed into what we now call a honeymoon.

Jan 2, 2015

Holiday Boozing

Many equate the holidays with drinking, so I looked up some of the common terms we use, beginning with 'crapulous' (a substitute for hangover), from the 18th century Greek kraipale (drunken headache or nausea). I love that word.

Booze
first appeared in Middle Dutch as bûsen, which meant 'to drink to excess.' There was also the Old High German word bausen, which meant 'to bulge or billow.'" It took 200 years for English speakers to start using it as both a verb (to booze) and a noun (give me some booze). It is a common misconception that the word was borrowed from a brand of whiskey sold by E.S. Booz in the 1800s, but the word much older. The 1529 Oxford dictionary defined it as “affected by drinking.”


Hooch comes from Alaska. There was a native tribe there called the Hoochinoo that distilled rum made primarily from molasses and introduced it to soldiers from the lower 48.

Alcohol began as an Arabic word describing a fine metallic powder used as eye shadow (al-kuhul). The word was broadened to mean 'the pure spirit of anything'. Later it was expanded to include a distilled spirit or liquor. Alcoholic meaning 'caused by drunkenness' is attested by the 1800s and meaning 'habitually drunk' by 1910.

Liquor dates back to at least 1200, likur "any matter in a liquid state," and the Latin verb liquere, meaning "to be fluid", from Latin liquorem. The definition including a fermented or distilled drink followed about a hundred years later. In North America, the term hard liquor is used to distinguish distilled beverages from undistilled ones and does not include beverages such as beer, wine, and cider, which are fermented, but not distilled.

Spirits refers to a distilled beverage that contains no added sugar and has at least 20% alcohol by volume. It probably originated with ancient alchemists, who referred to the vapor given off and collected during an alchemical process (like the distillation of alcohol) as the 'spirit' of the original material. Early European Monks believed that the spirit was removed from the mash during the distilling process.

Cocktail refers to any beverage that contains two or more ingredients with at least one of them being alcohol. When a cocktail contains only a distilled spirit and a mixer, it is a highball. The Oxford English dictionary cites the word as originating in the US. The first recorded use of the word cocktail as a beverage was during the early 1800s. Of the many origins, two stand out: an old French recipe for mixed wines, called a coquetel, brought to America by General Lafayette’s soldiers in 1777; and New Orleans brandy drink in an egg-cup called a coquetier in French. The latter was a morning drink served at the time the tail of the evening met with the morning cock-a-doodle-do of a rooster.


Bar is an abbreviation of barrier, the counter that separates drinks from the drinkers. Toward the end of the 16th century it expanded to mean the building that housed the barrier. Barmaid didn’t appear in print until the mid 1700s and bartender arrived about fifty years later and barfly came about during the early 1900s. Bottom line, beer, wine, cider, hooch, and alcohol are booze, but only hooch, and alcohol are liquors. Spirits are alcohol and both are liquor. All highballs are cocktails, but not all cocktails are highballs.

May 16, 2014

Brain Cell Myths Debunked

Brain cells can’t regenerate is an old myth. Also drinking kills brain cells is an old myth.

The reason for the regeneration myth is that it was believed and taught by the science community for a long time. In 1998, scientists at the Sweden and the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California discovered that brain cells in mature humans can regenerate. It had previously been long believed that complex brains would be severely disrupted by new cell growth, but the study found that the memory and learning center of the brain can create new cells.

Even in alcoholics, alcohol use does not actually result in the death of brain cells. It may temporarily damage the ends of neurons, called dendrites. This results in problems conveying messages between the neurons. The cell is not damaged, but the way that it communicates with others is temporarily altered.

Scientific medical research has actually demonstrated that the moderate consumption of alcohol is associated with better thinking and reasoning skills and memory than is abstaining from alcohol. Moderate drinking helps the brain function better into old age.

Jan 10, 2014

How Much Water

Speaking of hydration, North American companies use 1.39 liters of water to make one liter of bottled water. That is less than the global averages of a liter of soda, which requires 2.02 liters of water. A liter of beer needs 4 liters of water, wine needs 4.74 liters. Hard alcohol guzzles 34.55 liters of water for every liter.

Jan 5, 2014

A is for Alcohol

Now that the holidays festivities have subsided, I offer a bit of solace to the imbibers in the crowd. A recent study from the Research Society on Alcoholism shows that regular drinkers are less likely to die prematurely than people who have never indulged in alcohol. It concludes that abstaining from alcohol altogether can lead to a shorter life than consistent, moderate drinking.

The controlled study followed 1,824 individuals between ages 55 and 65 over a 20-year period and accounted for variables including socioeconomic status to level of physical activity. It found that mortality rates were highest for those who had never had a sip, lower for heavy drinkers, and lowest for moderate drinkers who enjoyed one to three drinks per day.

Results showed 69 percent of nondrinkers and 60 percent of heavy drinkers died prematurely, while only 41 percent of the moderate drinkers died prematurely. Even with the other heavy drinking mortality factors, such as risks for cirrhosis and cancer, accidents, and poor judgment associated with heavy drinking; those who imbibe are less likely to die prematurely than nondrinkers.

A possible explanation offered is that alcohol can be a social lubricant and strong social networks are essential for maintaining mental and physical health. Also, nondrinkers demonstrate greater signs of depression than drinkers. Another recent study found that moderate alcohol consumption boosts your immune system. In addition, there is potential heart health and circulation benefits of moderate drinking, especially red wine.

The difference between moderate and chronic is defined by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. They define moderate as no more than four drinks on a single day and no more than 14 in a week for men. For women, it is defined as no more than three drinks on a single day and no more than seven in a week.

Jun 29, 2013

Wordology, Booze

As we approach the July 4 Holiday, I thought a bit of drinking history might be interesting. The first references to the word “booze” meaning “alcoholic drink” in English appeared around the 14th century, though it was originally spelled 'bouse'. The spelling, as it is today, didn't appear until around the 17th century.

The word 'booze' appears to have Germanic origins, though which specific word it came from is still a little bit of a mystery. The three main words often cited are more or less all cousins of each other and are very similar in meaning and spelling. One of the words came from the Old High German 'bausen', which meant “bulge or billow”. This was a cousin of the Dutch word 'búsen', which meant “to drink excessively” or “to get drunk”. The Old Dutch language also has a similar word 'buise', which translates to “drinking vessel”.

It is thought that the word “bouse” in English, which later became “booze”, has its origins in one or more of those three words, with most scholars leaning towards it coming from the Dutch word 'búsen'.

The origin of the word “booze” does not come from E. C. Booz, a 19th century distiller in the United States.

Archeological evidence suggest that the earliest known purposefully fermented drink, beer, was made around 10,000 BC.

Native American tribes had numerous forms of alcoholic beverages they brewed, long before the “white man” came to the Americas.

The Greek followers of Dionysus believed intoxication brought them closer to their god. Some current imbibers still believe this.

Nov 28, 2012

Tequila

The clear white liquor with the unique taste that people either love or hate, tequila is thought to have been first produced around the second half of the 16th century in Mexico. It is made from the blue agave plant that grows so abundantly around the city of Tequila in the state of Jalisco. Tequila is said to have been a result of the Spaniards running out of their own brandy. Upon hearing the Aztecs had once used the blue agave plant to produce an alcoholic drink (known as octli or pulque), the conquistadors set about distilling the plant to produce a drink they could use to replace their beloved brandy.

Mexican law dictates that tequila can only be produced in this and a few other very select areas if it is to carry the name of tequila. Over 300 million agave plants are harvested each year for the production of tequila.

It is distilled after fermentation and the end product is usually 38% to 40% alcohol. That brings it in at 76% to 80% proof.

Nov 21, 2012

Drinking and Antibiotics Myth Debunked

This one should be a relief for some folks as we begin the holiday season. With the advent of antibiotics to treat sexually transmitted diseases came a word of advice: don’t drink while taking the pills. The reason given for this is that it will stop the medication working. This advice is untrue for most antibiotics.

Alcohol does not reduce the effectiveness of most antibiotics. Antibiotics and alcohol can cause similar side effects, such as stomach upset, dizziness and drowsiness, so combining them can increase these side effects. Less than five of the more than one hundred types of antibiotics do have adverse effects when taken with alcohol. Obviously, moderation in all things is the key.

Nov 6, 2012

Drinking and Intelligence

The next time you're inclined to enjoy an extra glass of wine, consider that it may be a reflection of your intelligence. That is one of the findings from data from the National Child Development Study in the United Kingdom and the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health in the United States.

Childhood intelligence, measured before the age of 16, was categorized in five cognitive classes, ranging from "very dull," "dull," "normal," "bright" and "very bright."

The Americans were revisited seven years later. The British youths, on the other hand, were followed in their 20s, 30s and 40s. Researchers measured their drinking habits as the participants became older.

More intelligent children in both studies grew up to drink alcohol more frequently and in greater quantities than less intelligent children. In the Brits' case, "very bright" children grew up to consume nearly eight-tenths of a standard deviation more alcohol than their "very dull" cohorts.

Researchers controlled for demographic variables, such as marital status, parents' education, earnings, childhood social class and more, that may have also affected adult drinking. The findings held true that smarter kids were drinking more as adults.

Psychology Today takes an evolutionary approach. It argues that drinkable alcohol is a relatively novel invention of 10,000 years ago. Our ancestors had previously received their alcohol kick through eating rotten fruits, so more intelligent humans may be more likely to choose modern alcoholic beverages.

Although increased alcohol consumption could be a reflection of exceptional brainpower, drinking more will certainly not make you any more intelligent than you already are. I'll drink to that.

Aug 17, 2012

Soft Drink Facts

Soft Drink refers to nearly all beverages that do not contain significant amounts of alcohol as hard drinks do.

The term soft drink is typically used mostly for flavored carbonated beverages and that is because of advertising. Flavored carbonated beverage makers were having a difficult time creating national advertisements due what people call their product varies from place to place.

In parts of the United States and Canada, flavored carbonated beverages are referred to as “pop”; in other parts “soda”; in yet other parts “coke”; and there are a variety of other names commonly used as well. In England these drinks are called fizzy drinks and in Ireland called minerals.

Since beverage makers can’t refer to their product in the generic sense in national or international advertisements due to the varied terms, they have chosen the term soft drink to be more or less a universal term for flavored carbonated beverages.

Dec 2, 2011

American Drinking

Sixty four percent of American adults drink alcohol. Of those who imbibe, 36% prefer wine, 35% beer and 23% hard liquor.

May 31, 2011

Alcohol Does Not Kill Brain Cells

Time to debunk another popular myth. Research has shown that the quantity of alcohol you could possibly take in, without killing yourself, does not introduce enough alcohol into your bloodstream to kill brain cells. This was proven by a study by Grethe Jensen and co. in 1993. They meticulously counted neurons in matched samples of non-alcoholics and alcoholics.  They found no real difference in the density or overall number of neurons between the two groups.  Other research has backed up those findings. 

According to a study done at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, in Italy, 29% of people 65 years or older who almost never drank alcohol throughout their life had mental impairment issues. About 19% of people 65 years or older who drank moderate amounts of alcohol regularly had any mental impairment. It was further discovered that, among the various groups where other problems might impair them mentally, the same trend appeared. In every group, those who drank moderately on a regular basis throughout their lives always had a less chance of becoming mentally impaired in their old age compared to those who didn’t drink at all or almost never drank.

Scientists also once believed that the number of nerve cells you have in your brain, once you reach adulthood, was fixed. They have now discovered that new neurons are continuously created in the adult brain.

There are other side effects of alcohol on your brain, such as developing Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, which is characterized by: confusion, coordination problems, hallucinations, memory problems, eye problems, and even inducing a coma or death, if left untreated.  Excessive alcohol consumption over a long period of time causes a vitamin B1 deficiency, because alcohol inhibits the body’s ability to absorb thiamine.

Aug 13, 2010

Alcohol and Arthritis

Drinking alcohol can not only ease the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, it appears to reduce disease severity too, research suggests.

Scientists at the University of Sheffield asked two groups of patients with and without the disease to provide details of their drinking habits. They found that patients who had drunk alcohol most frequently experienced less joint pain and swelling.

In the study, 873 patients with rheumatoid arthritis were compared to 1,004 people who did not have it. Both groups were asked how often they drank alcohol in the month running up to the start of the study. Patients completed a detailed questionnaire, had X-rays and blood tests, and a nurse examined their joints. The patients in the study did not drink more than the recommended limit of 10 units of alcohol a week.

It's possible that the anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects of alcohol may play a role in reducing the severity of symptoms, according to Dr James Maxwell consultant rheumatologist.

Patients who drank alcohol most frequently had less severe symptoms than those who had never or infrequently drunk alcohol. X-rays showed there was less damage to their joints, blood tests showed lower levels of inflammation, and there was less joint pain, swelling, and disability in those patients, the researchers found.

The study showed non-drinkers were four times more likely to develop RA than people who drank alcohol on more than 10 days a month. Previous studies have shown that alcohol may reduce the risk of developing the disease initially.

However, they do not yet understand why drinking alcohol should reduce the severity of RA, and people's susceptibility to developing it, but there is some evidence to show that alcohol suppresses the activity of the immune system, and that this may influence the pathways by which RA develops.

Dec 11, 2009

Alcohol Protects Men's Hearts

Just in time for the holidays. Drinking alcohol every day cuts the risk of heart disease in men by more than a third, a major study suggests and the type of drink did not appear to change the results

The Spanish research involving more than 15,500 men and 26,000 women found large quantities of alcohol could be even more beneficial for men. Female drinkers did not benefit to the same extent.

The study was conducted in Spain, a country with relatively high rates of alcohol consumption and low rates of coronary heart disease. The research involved men and women aged between 29 and 69, who were asked to document their lifetime drinking habits and followed for 10 years.

The researchers, led by the Basque Public Health Department, placed the participants into six categories - from never having drunk to drinking more than 90g (3 oz.) of alcohol each day. This would be equivalent to consuming eight bottles of wine a week, or 28 pints of beer.

For those drinking less than a shot of vodka a day, the risk was reduced by 35%, and for those who drank anything from three shots to more than 11 shots each day, the risk worked out an average of 50% less risk of heart disease.

The exact mechanisms are as yet unclear, but it is known that alcohol helps to raise high-density lipoproteins (HDL), sometimes known as good cholesterol, which helps stop so-called bad cholesterol from building up in the arteries.

The Stroke Association meanwhile noted that overall, evidence indicated that people who regularly consumed a large amount of alcohol had a three-fold increased risk of stroke.

In the UK, the recommendation is no more than two to three units of alcohol a day for women - the equivalent of one standard glass of wine - and three to four units for men. So, drink lots and save your heart, but ruin your brain and liver. Drink less and save your liver and brain, but risk a heart attack.  Hmmm. Decisions, decisions. . .