Alcohol: The Skinny on Health and Drinking

All vices are vices insofar as they're under control. When you lose control and become addicted -- to gambling, to smoking, to drinking -- you put yourself and others at risk.

It should come as no surprise to our podcast listeners — Jason and Tony, we do loves us some fine alcohol. And consumed in moderation, adult beverages complement social experiences and even bring some modest health benefits.

For example, daily consumption in moderation appears to reduce a person’s risk of various complications for cardiovascular disease and stroke.

But we’d be remiss if we didn’t air an occasional PSA for the benefit of our peeps in the e-hood, about the seriousness of alcohol consumption when it moves from “social vice” to “dangerous addiction.” Consider the following points:

  • Alcohol, being calorie dense, works against most weight loss programs. A cocktail with spirits, liqueurs, mixers and added sugar (think: margarita, mojito) can easily top 500 calories, especially when served “el grande” at the local restaurant. The average human male needs a 2,000-calorie diet to maintain his current body mass. That one drink can equal a full 25 percent of his daily caloric needs! Remember, you gain one pound of extra weight for every 3,500 calories you consume in excess of your baseline energy needs. Drink just one of those frou-frou beverages every night for a year, and you’ll end up a whopping 52 pounds heavier!
  • Alcohol is a powerful depressant. If you consume alcohol with many different medications, you run the risk of complications that could affect your overall health. In addition, people who turn to alcohol to retreat from psychological stresses run the risk of addiction and the spiral that follows.

All vices are vices insofar as they’re under control. When you lose control and become addicted — to gambling, to smoking, to drinking — you put yourself and others at risk. Your vice turns into your death knell.

Get educated; the National Institutes for Health presented an excellent overview of the health impacts (good and bad) of alcohol consumption in a 2000 article in Alcohol Research and Health. Read it. If you have a problem, get help. There are a lot of resources in every community to help people who may be tottering on the edge.

After all, we at Vice Lounge Online don’t want you to get cut off … permanently.

Share

About jason

Jason is the principal of Gillikin Consulting, a business-media and ethics consultancy based in Grand Rapids, Mich.