“Wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it. Right is right, even if no one is doing it.”
Underage drinking is becoming prevalent in today’s society, even though it is a huge safety risk due to lack of knowledge, control, and overall the effects it has on the way the body absorbs nutrients. To create nutritional deficiencies at a young age can affect the body’s development and health.
“In 2014, 8.7 million young people ages 12–20 reported that they drank alcohol beyond “just a few sips” in the past month.” Although this statistic rings true to how many students are participating in underage drinking, this does not mean that you are destined to be a statistic.
Today we traveled to North Brunswick, NJ to discuss Alcohol and Nutrition. We first started the discussion by asking what is important to the student in life. Is it family? Friends? Sports? Their dog. Here’s what the students had to say:
Although there are many reasons students participate in underage drinking, such as peer pressure, increased responsibilities, to be “cool”, to fit in, because everyone else is doing it, or any other reason you can name, the response to why you SHOULD NOT drink underage rang clear: what is important to you in life WILL suffer.
Not only does alcohol increase risk for cancers, cardiac disease, liver disease, brain damage, ulcers, and so much more, but it also impairs cognitive function.
If you are an athlete, LISTEN UP! No matter how many burpees you do, your performance is GUARANTEED to decrease.
Alcohol use, both long term and short term use, will affect your sports performance or workout routine. In fact, it may undo the results from your workout. “Consuming five or more alcoholic beverages in one night can affect brain and body activities for up to three days. Two consecutive nights of drinking five or more alcoholic beverages can affect brain and body activities for up to five days.”
Alcohol use, for any age has a spiral effect. It affects our learning abilities and memory, as well as our ability to form muscle. For example, if you exercise after work, then come home and relax with a glass of wine or beer, even in moderation, your sleep will be disrupted. This lack of sleep will then lower your body’s ability to produce HGH, or human growth hormone. Human growth hormone gives your body the ability to build muscle.
Alcohol can decrease your body’s human growth hormone by 70%. Therefore, alcohol consumption at any level will decrease protein synthesis, and then cancel all your gains from your workout. To someone who makes physical activity an essential part of their lifestyle, this is detrimental!
Alcohol also decreases nutrient absorption. Essential B vitamins (B12, B6, and thiamine) have decreased absorption. These vitamins fuel our metabolism; without them, our body will show a decline in athletic performance, as well as other symptoms such as fatigue, depression, and hair loss.
In addition, our body decreases in the ability for our cells to carry oxygen when we consume alcohol. Our cells need to carry oxygen in order to be able to run and exercise without the “hitting the wall” feeling. If you are training for a marathon, race, or sports competition, your best bet is to limit alcohol consumption so you can limit lack of absorption of nutrients such as B vitamins as well as fat soluble A, D, E, and K, and reduce your risk for injury.
Alcohol most likely promotes fat storage, and cannot be used as or converted to glucose for energy. In fact, alcohol causes the liver to make more fatty acids. In addition, alcohol causes an increase in triglycerides. “At autopsy, the heart of a person who suffered from alcoholism will weigh twice as much as a heart of a nonalcoholic.”
However, we are the type of Registered Dietitian Nutritionists that believe in EVERYTHING in moderation…as long as you are of age! It is recommended that the definition of moderation for alcohol intake is defined as one drink for women and two drinks for men. Always remember…alcohol contains empty calories, which means that they lack nutritional value. If you have weight loss goals, these calories can and will keep you from reaching your goals. Make educated decisions and choose wisely.
We concluded the day with a group physical activity level! It was a great day!
Want us to come to your school or participate in one of your events? Call us at 609-738-3143 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Michele Wroblewski, RDN
Caruso Physical Therapy and Nutrition, LLC
1278 Yardville Allentown Rd. Suite 3
Allentown, NJ 08501