May 7, 2022
The last couple years have given us plenty to drink about, but how does alcohol play into our health? What are some of the common health risks of drinking? How does alcohol impact women specifically? Today, we’ll talk about why drinking can be detrimental to your health goals and give you some points to ponder when considering giving up (or limiting) this habit.
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Hello everyone. This is Teresa, one of the dietitians at Nutritional Weight and Wellness. Before we start today's podcast, I have a question for you. Do you struggle with sugar cravings? And when I say sugar, I also mean bread, chips, crackers, cereal, and other processed foods. If so, we have something special planned for our Dishing Up Nutrition listeners. Starting May 16th, we will be offering a free five-day online challenge called “How to Break Up With Sugar.”
During our free five-day challenge, you will learn the science behind sugar cravings while taking on daily attainable challenges that lay the critical foundation for a sugar breakup. You will have access to a private Facebook group, daily Facebook live events hosted by me, and exclusive daily challenge resources sent directly to your inbox. If you're ready to take control of your sugar cravings, sign up for the five-day challenge by going to weightandwellness.com/challenge. That's weightandwellness.com/challenge. I hope you will join us May 16th through the 20th for this free online challenge to break up with sugar. Thanks for listening to Dishing Up Nutrition and enjoy the show.
TERESA: Welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. You know, last month I read an article called Alcohol Abuse. Women, do we need an intervention? I read the article and I reread the article and I thought, you know, I think this would be great to share some of the key points with our Dishing Up Nutrition listeners.
Nutritional Weight and Wellness is all about providing life changing education. And this article certainly had some concerning statistics. So today on Dishing Up Nutrition, we are addressing the dangers of drinking; more specifically the dangers of drinking alcohol. So I want to share this alarming statistic from 2001 to 2013. Now during that 12-year timeframe, there was a 58% increase in women's heavy drinking and an 84% increase in alcohol use disorder. Even more alarming, and because of the pandemic isolation and all those stressors, women's alcohol usage continued to rise. Women of all ages drank more.
So the question laid out in this article: “Do women need an intervention?” And I'd say, well, maybe we do. With all the research data, we thought it would be important for women to understand the health risks of drinking alcohol. The health risks are so much more than just having a hangover the next day. So before we continue discussing these risks of drinking alcohol, let's introduce ourselves.
I'm Teresa Wagner. I'm a Registered and Licensed Dietitian and I have three children. And I am of the age that social drinking is very popular. I am also aware of the many health risks of drinking alcohol, which certainly causes me some mental tug of war, right? Where on the one hand I can understand the pull of social drinking. And on the other hand, I also know how disruptive it can be to your life and to your health.
Joining us today as our cohost is Jolene Carlson, who is a licensed nutritionist with a master's degree in human nutrition and functional medicine. In addition to being a part of the Weight and Wellness team: she counsels and educates for us. Jolene, also, among her many hats that she wears is an officer in the National Guard. And Jolene, I don't know if you know this or not, but after college I lived in Hawaii for a while and I lived near the Naval base.
And one of my good friends, she was married to a Navy guy. And I spent a lot of time around, you know, service people at that time. And drinking alcohol was certainly a popular pastime. And perhaps it was because we were all in our twenties at that time, or perhaps it was because, you know, hey, we're living in Hawaii. It's fun.
But I do think that I've heard that alcohol usage is also very popular amongst service people. And maybe, maybe you have some experience with that too, but of course, Jolene is also very aware of the health risks that alcohol can bring on. And for us, we truly believe that when you know better, you can do better. And so today we want to help people be able to know better so they can do better.
JOLENE: Well, thanks for that Teresa. That was a great introduction. I mean, just the whole thing. It really brought us into the topic today very, very well. Yeah, being in the military, drinking is, is very common; much for the reasons you mentioned. It’s a social thing. Of course, there's a lot of stress, but I, you know, I could say that then I think back and I'm like, oh, I was a teacher and there was a lot of happy hours there too. Oh, and as a mom, there's a lot of happy hour scheduled. So, you know, kind of at the beginning, when you said that the study was of women of all ages and I, I would say women, men, whoever.
TERESA: And all backgrounds.
JOLENE: And all backgrounds. Right. And so it's just become a very, a very social thing. And with that, it becomes just maybe more acceptable or maybe we just don't aren't as aware because it's kind of a joint…
TERESA: Everybody’s doing it.
JOLENE: Everybody's doing it. Exactly. And I just, that's what I love about today's show. Cause it's really about, like you said, the education and we're not here to say, you know, to judge or be like, you know, people are drinking more and no, no. We just want, you know, people to understand that one, we're in this together.
JOLENE: You know, like we all know somebody or, or our self-experiences and then two, the more you know, the more you can make an informed decision of what's best for you.
TERESA: Right. And also, I think one thing that we could say too is just because somebody drinks does not make them an alcoholic.
JOLENE: Oh, absolutely.
TERESA: It doesn't mean you have a problem.
TERESA: But it still is not necessarily a health habit.
JOLENE: Exactly. Yeah. That's our goal to be healthy. And, you know, that's what we try to do with like these podcasts and articles. And, you know, you were just saying you had a post on social media of, of kind of what is, what is relevant to people right now. And this is something that's very relevant to people right now. And that's, that's what we get to do is educate on that.
So we're going to share, like, you know, some of the statistics just to help you understand that we're not in this alone and then hopefully give you some of that education and resources to help you on your health journey around alcohol. So in addition to what Teresa started with stats, here's another statistic: This one is from JAMA, which is the Journal of American Medical Association.
And they found women drink four or more drinks; the times that women would sit down and have four more drinks at a sitting, okay, or in one period of time, increased by 41%. So it's not to tell you just the drinking, but how much are we drinking? Okay. And I think for all of us, you know, four or more drinks is, is pushing, you know, just pushing that, that button a little bit more. And then with that comes what can happen to your, your body, your brain, your health, your sleep, your wellbeing with that.
TERESA: Mm-hmm. Yeah. And there was a study from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, and it reported that mothers with children under the age of three increased their drinking by 300% during the pandemic.
TERESA: And, you know, for moms of very young kids, the, the isolation of the pandemic was tough. So alcohol might have been a moment to just do something that felt adult because you spend so much time, you know, wrapped up in all that, the, the, the little littles, you know, that, and there's, it's so all-encompassing in your life. And so put them to bed and then have some time for yourself.
JOLENE: Oh yes.
TERESA: You know, and stress, I mean, for all moms during the pandemic, I, and for, for, I'm not excluding the men, but today's show is about women. I think that stress for, for all moms during the pandemic was, was really high. I mean, many women were working. They were also juggling their kids’ online learning. They still had to take care of all the tasks of the day. I mean, hopefully they had some help from their family too, but I mean, we were all home. So we were having to cook more, provide more meals. The laundry doesn't go away. The cleaning doesn't go away. The day-to-day stuff didn't go away. And so I think alcohol at that time, also, it just represented a break from it all.
TERESA: You know?
JOLENE: Yeah. And you didn't even have the break to get away. Right?
JOLENE: I mean, you're in the same place all the time. Of course, I mean, it's, it's not, it's not shocking, but I just think it's worth talking about it. So we're all aware.
JOLENE: And you know, the more we know and the more we can do. And then to go back to the, the stat that you showed, you shared, Teresa, at the beginning. So with that increase from 2001 to 2013, that 58% increase, okay, you know, there was also information about how it affects people's lives, right?
So what are some of the things that happen as we increase our alcohol intake as women? And you know, it could affect just of course our quality of sleep. And then if we're not sleeping, it's even hard to do that. Those, all those things you were just mentioning. Everything is harder.
And especially like you said, if you have kids under the age of three, you're parenting, you're working, you're doing online school, you're doing all these things, it’s just, it it's so overwhelming. And now we get into kind of a cycle, right?
JOLENE: Of course, drinking is expensive, you know, so affects just your overall budget and finances, but really, you know, the thing that is really important to us is we just want people to be their best selves. And how does it affect your health and what can we do about it?
TERESA: Right. And hearing that, that JAMA research that you had talked about about the 41% increase in women drinking four or more drinks in a short period of time, made me want to share some research findings from the American Cancer Society. This prestigious health organization recommends zero alcohol intake as the first step to avoid cancer; zero.
JOLENE: Wow. So not, not one. Not two.
TERESA: Not one.
JOLENE: Just zero.
TERESA: Just zero.
JOLENE: Okay. Well, that's a hard line for us at least.
TERESA: That is a, yep. According to a large 2009 study, one drink per day, just one drink per day increases your risk for breast cancer by 12%.
JOLENE: Wow. That's, that's an amazing statistic. So there again, knowing the why. One more thing to share here before we go to break, is that from 1999 to 2017, so 18 years, and this was before the pandemic, alcohol related deaths rose by 85%. Okay. That's a huge difference. And I mean, of course these are all types of alcohol related deaths, but just realizing that.
TERESA: A lot of unnecessary death.
JOLENE: Absolutely. Absolutely. So we're going to go to break and we come back we'll talk more about why we're drinking more.
TERESA: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. Are you ready to break up with sugar? If you're like the average American, you are eating three times the amount of sugar that's good for your health. We want to give you the motivation to make the breakup. From May 16th to May 20th, join our free “How to Break Up with Sugar” challenge. Just register by going to weightandwellness.com/challenge.
And we will get you started. I will be teaching you the science behind sugar cravings and how to stay motivated and when and how to use the hard no. And I'll be teaching you this through Facebook lives. So once you sign up, you will get access to our Facebook lives for this group, and you'll be getting emails. And it's going to be fun.
JOLENE: Well, of course it is. It's with you, Teresa. What a fun opportunity.
TERESA: And I really, I look forward to working with each of you on, on breaking the sugar habit. It's, like I said, it's going to be fun. It's, and it's, and it's free.
JOLENE: Free, people, that's right.
JOLENE: Well, that would be so fun. And that is such, I mean, we always say that like with our podcasts or radio show, one of the most popular ones are the sugar habit ones or sugar addictions, because again, so many of us can resonate with this.
JOLENE: So I'm sure there's people out there and I can think of a bunch of people of like, oh, this will be perfect. Yeah. But thank you for doing that, Theresa. That's going to be a really good time.
TERESA: Yes. Well, I'm, I look, I'm looking forward to it and it's coming up soon, so that'll be fun. All right. So back to our topic. Today, we're talking about the dangers of drinking alcohol. And so now, I mean, just even in thinking about this topic, we've talked a little bit about stressors, but you know, maybe we should think about why women are drinking more. Could it be effective marketing?
You know, I think that that could be a part of it. How is alcohol marketed towards women? Frequently, the message has been, well, “you deserve a reward for getting through your hard day” or “drink a glass of wine to relax and unwind”. And, you know, oftentimes it's even advertised as it's heart healthy. Right? It's good for you.
TERESA: To, to drink wine. And as we just heard from the American Cancer Society, that at least as far as cancer is concerned, zero is the number that we're shooting for. And, you know, wine happy hours, you know, amongst moms have gotten more popular. There's all these t-shirts out there. I see them all the time saying things like “Mama runs on coffee and wine”, or “They whine, I wine”.
TERESA: So they whine with an ‘h’ and ‘i’, you know, the wine.
JOLENE: I've seen that one.
TERESA: Yes. And then I've also seen the “It takes a village and a vineyard”.
JOLENE: Oh, I haven't seen that one.
TERESA: You know? So the, so it's making these things like it's fun and it's cute and we get it, right? But it's also, it, it, it normalizes it.
JOLENE: I was going to say, we're normalizing it even more.
TERESA: Yeah. Right. Yep. Yep. Makes it very light. So, and, and this stuff happens all the time in neighborhoods and play dates and all that kind of stuff, you know, where it's, it's, you know, we're looking for a place to relax.
TERESA: And, you know, maybe, maybe a topic for another show is, well, what can we do instead?
JOLENE: Well, that's what, you know, when you said that, when you said the phrase, you know, you deserve a reward for getting through your hard day and that's kind of what we're, you know, what might be marketing towards women. It's like, absolutely. You do deserve something.
TERESA: Yes. You do.
JOLENE: Especially with Mother’s Day around the corner. Yes moms. Thank you for everything you do, and you do work so, so hard. We just want to find ways where you can reward yourself and still take care of yourself.
TERESA: Yes, exactly. Right. Yes. Perfect.
JOLENE: But yeah, it's kind of just been marketed to, like, we'll pick this one instead, and then the more we normalize it, the more it feels like, well, it's just what everybody does anyway. And like we said before, yes. It's, you know, it's very associated with the, the younger women's culture and women of a certain age to have their happy hours or whatnot. But like we said, I've seen it with all ages, with all clients. Right? You know, and we're talking, I mean, on the other end of that, you know working with some women that are, you know, have, have had the ability to either retire or now they have the kids out the house and getting out and socializing more, or even not, you know, it's become easy for them to have wine with dinner or wine after dinner or wine at night or any social group you join, guess what's probably going to be there?
TERESA: Yeah. Right.
JOLENE: Maybe some wine or alcohol, and it just is so easy to have access. And that makes it really hard to think about these choices. So many people, and when I used to do wine at night, I would do this all the time, too. It was like the wine and the cheese and crackers.
JOLENE: It was like this perfect combination in my head.
JOLENE: You know, and it, and it kind of, you know, for us, we see that as like you're feeding these cravings.
JOLENE: Right; those end of the day cravings that we get from either not being well nourished during the day, high stress, adrenal fatigue, like all the things that happen to us. And what's better to feed that than those quick sugars with wine, crackers, you know, carbs, snacky foods. Right?
TERESA: Yeah. And then the cheese always pairs really nice.
JOLENE: I mean, cheese just pairs with everything. Right? Right. Yeah.
TERESA: Well, and the thing is, is that we keep saying wine, but it doesn't have to be wine. Not everybody likes wine.
TERESA: You know, it’s any alcohol. It just happens to be that the wine is the one that tends to be talked about more.
JOLENE: Yeah. It seems common with a lot of our clients, like if we were to pick one, that probably is the one that comes up the most often, but absolutely. They all do. Everybody has different tastes. Yep. Mm-Hmm.
TERESA: Yes. And I think that, you know, and I heard this too, with some of the retirees or empty nesters, or just people that, you know, just in a different, like in a different phase of life where it's, it's a weight, it's, it's almost like a friend where it's, you're kind of lonely, especially during the pandemic; kind of lonely and, and having a drink and, you know, seeing your TV friends, maybe.
TERESA: With something to do and social, and you can see how you could fall into that habit. And now that we are kind of through the pandemic; saying that delicately.
JOLENE: Yes. Hopefully yes.
TERESA: That we're kind of through it, or at least we're not, we're not staying at home as much anymore that that the habit has been established, and we like those habits. And it's really hard to break the habit now that it's been established.
JOLENE: And that's really what it is. It's now about that habit. Right?
TERESA: Mm-hmm. You know, there's been some well-known women who have recently revealed their struggles with alcohol addiction too. The former ABC news anchor, Elizabeth Vargas, shared her struggles with alcohol addiction in her memoir, which that encouraged model, Christy Teagan, to choose sobriety over a morning hangover or disturbed sleep.
JOLENE: Yeah. I mean, I, I don't think we, any of us have to look far for being honest with each other and having open, open conversations about this struggle. It's everywhere. Absolutely. Some other things that some common health risks of drinking, especially if you're drinking three or more drinks daily and just to make sure drink can be defined by many people, kind of like you said, the marketing, like you've seen the huge wine glass, right?
TERESA: Yeah. I, I just had one.
JOLENE: I just had one, but it's like this huge wine glass. So you should maybe, you know, determine what those parameters are. So for a glass of wine, for example, it's five ounces.
TERESA: I feel like that's a generous pour.
JOLENE: Yeah. And that's, yeah, that's generous. And, and, but, you know, I've seen people do 12, 14, you know, eight, whatever. So it's not one drink or one glass. And you know, as women it's, you know, or as everybody, but for women, you know, alcohol for us is really a toxin. Okay? And it's the liver's job to get rid of toxins in our body.
JOLENE: So when we drink, we increase that toxin load, which means we increase that demand in our liver. And if you're drinking too much too fast, so more than a couple drinks and your liver's not able to keep up, okay, you're, you know, hurting those liver cells, which then makes your liver not as productive to do it's many, many, many jobs that it does for us. Right? And then you might be getting a toxin load in your body, which can cause lots of problems.
So, you know, we just want to make sure that, you know, the more we could take care of our body and reduce that toxin load, we'll just be healthy everywhere. And you know, other shows and we've talked about toxin load shows up in so many ways with so many different problems.
You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. A key health habit that supports your metabolism and go to break the sugar habit is to eat a real food breakfast. If you are tired of eggs for breakfast, join Marianne, our culinary nutrition educator, for a class on May 19th or May 24th to learn new and exciting ideas for a real food breakfast. Start a Breakfast Habit with Real Food is a Zoom class and only $25. Sign up online at weightandwellness.com or call 651-699-3438.
TERESA: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. Are you ready to join our five-day “Breaking Up with Sugar” challenge? This is a free challenge. So join me as we explore the biochemical reasons, the emotional reasons and the habit reasons why we love sugar so much. I will be hosting daily Facebook lives to walk you through the upcoming day’s challenge. And you will also receive emails with more specifics; not too much info, just enough to get you going.
I'm excited to be hosting this challenge and really hope you will join me. So don't think about it. Do it right now. Go to weightandwellness.com/challenge. Let's have a little fun as you give up sugar. Now, before break, we were talking about the liver and the effect of alcohol on the liver. And of course, I think many people know that alcohol is not good for their liver. In fact, I was just at, I was just somewhere and there was this picture of this guy drinking and it said, “Shut up, liver.” I was like, no.
JOLENE: Another marketing tool.
TERESA: No, listen to your liver. Don't tell it to shut up.
JOLENE: We should have a show on just all the amazing things liver does for your body. I mean, cause I just, I mean, we know we relate it to alcohol, but I mean, in my head, in your head, you're probably thinking of like, oh, but it also does this and this and this.
TERESA: It has so many jobs. It is a very amazing organ. Well, okay. So like I was saying, we know that too much alcohol can damage the liver cells, but this damage can lead to scars forming in your liver. And when that happens, it can lead to cirrhosis. Long-term use of alcohol can also lead to alcoholic fatty liver. So that used to be the most common cause of fatty liver disease.
But now we know that too many processed carbs and too much sugar can lead to fatty liver disease as well. That's non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. But fatty liver disease, well that is the buildup of fat in the liver or fat cells within the liver itself, where cirrhosis is the formation of scar tissue in the liver.
Fatty liver can lead to cirrhosis if, if it's not addressed. So drinking too much alcohol can lead to that fat buildup in the liver, which then can lead to scarring of the liver, which this is a big problem, you know.
JOLENE: Really big problem.
TERESA: You need your liver. Without your liver, you will die.
JOLENE: Yes. And again, it does so many things for you. It's almost like you're overworking your liver so the more that we demand things from alcohol, for example, in our liver, it just, as it kind of wears down, these are some of the things that can happen with it.
TERESA: Right. And like you were saying, alcohol is a toxin, and the, one of the primary jobs of the liver is detoxification. And if there's a, if it's perceiving toxins in your body, it's going to prioritize that.
TERESA: That's what's going to take the priority. So all the other jobs take a back door or take a, a step back from, from what it needs to do.
JOLENE: Hence the fat storage, right?
TERESA: Right. Yeah.
JOLENE: Because it can get rid of that extra stuff. Yeah. And so that kind is a good segue. And so let's think about alcohol and weight loss. You know, we often see that correlation between people that are drinking and the inability to lose weight or maybe gaining some unwanted weight.
JOLENE: And you know, that kind of, if we go back to the reason why is that your, your body's ability to use any kind of, you know, food or digestion or detoxification is compromised when it again, has to make this priority of eliminating toxins. So you're, you're just demanding the wrong jobs from your liver at that time. So your body's not going to be able to do all those things that help you use food or digest food or repair if it's always on kind of like, I need to detox, detox, detox this alcohol. And that's where that weight gain comes in with that fat, extra fat storage on your liver.
TERESA: And on your body.
JOLENE: And it shows up on your body, right. Yeah. So that's like the visceral fat or the organ fat. And that's why for a lot of people it shows up in their belly, right? Yeah. Like abdominal type of stuff. Mm-Hmm yes. And so, yeah, Mark Hyman. Many of you know Dr. Mark Hyman. He wrote Ultra Metabolism and he uses the words “taking a drug holiday”. And when he refers to drugs, he recommends alcohol, sugar, refined fats and junk food. And he says, try it for one week, you know, try it for however long you can. But really the idea is for you to give your body a chance to heal from these things that are taxing your liver. And then of course taxing your metabolism and health.
TERESA: Yeah. And for best results, we recommend taking a drug holiday for at least three weeks. In three weeks, you will see the number on the scale go down. Your clothes will fit better. And you will feel like you did when you were 10 years younger. And quite honestly, you'll see it in your face probably first.
JOLENE: Yes. Or like if you wake up, you won't feel so kind of like inflamed, basically.
TERESA: Yeah. Mm-Hmm, exactly. You have more energy and more zest. Many clients have this battle going on in their mind. Right? They want to lose weight, but they also want to be able to have their drinks, their cocktails, their wine in the evening. It's sad to say it just doesn't work that way.
JOLENE: Yep. Yep. So besides this, let's just talk more about the lack of weight loss or inability to lose weight around alcohol. Okay. So we kind of going to go back to just, you know, we want to explain the science behind or the education to help you understand. So if alcohol is a toxin or a poison or in Dr. Hyman's words, a drug, okay, your body is going to automatically be inflamed and kind of on high alert and your liver's going to take priority to spend all of its effort on getting those toxins out, which means they can't spend the effort on, you know your metabolism and having a healthy metabolism.
An interesting little fact is alcohol shuts down that fat burning. So that metabolism, healthy metabolism, for 12 to 36 hours, depending on how much you drink. So if you think of that in a way that it takes 12 to 36 hours for your body to feel like, or your liver to feel like it's detoxifying these toxins. And when it's doing that, again, nothing else gets to happen.
TERESA: Right. And so if you think about having a drink every other day, you know, you might say, well, that's not that much. It's just every other day.
TERESA: Your liver never really fully gets that break that it needs.
TERESA: …to prioritize other things.
JOLENE: Right. And that's why for some women that drink occasionally, you know, or just once in a great while or whatever, not very often, it's because they have that healthy metabolism and maybe they can tolerate it without having that constant hit on your liver. Right?
TERESA: You know, throughout this show, we have established that alcohol is a toxin and can damage the cells in the liver. In our Nutrition for Weight Loss series of classes, we explain that in order to lose weight, the liver needs to break down and metabolize body fat. If the liver is working hard to detox alcohol, that fat burning, it just really is hindered. It is very difficult to lose weight when you're drinking alcohol regularly.
JOLENE: Exactly. And remember if you're not burning fat, you're most likely storing it. So you're also having that opposite effect. Right?
JOLENE: So we know that alcohol halts weight loss. Okay. But we also know that as women hit the perimenopause, menopause, post-menopause types of ages, they actually become more sensitive to the effects of alcohol. And again, this could be a lot, have a lot to do with the fact that as we use our livers more and more as we age, right? They just become less effective. And the more that you, you know, traumatize them, the harder they're going to have to work.
TERESA: It's the sad part of aging. Right? I think we just start wearing out.
JOLENE: We do. Well, yeah. I would say everything in our body has like a certain amount of things they can do. Like it all has an expiration date.
JOLENE: And sometimes we just make that expiration, expiration date a little closer when we demand more. Right?
TERESA: Yes. And instead, we want to live and eat and drink in a way that reverses that.
JOLENE: Yes. And that quality of life is so important.
JOLENE: And yeah. And, and alcohol, we know for a lot of women that we talk to, especially menopausal women, that they talk a lot about how they can immediately tell that alcohol gives them joint pain.
JOLENE: You know especially knees, feet I hear it a lot from women. That sort of thing. Hands; okay?
TERESA: Yeah. Feel it in the hands. Hot feet. I hear hot feet.
TERESA: Restless legs.
JOLENE: Yes. And, and then of course that affects your sleep and your pain threshold. And it's amazing. Cause I've, I mean, I could think of a lot of clients where they just, you know, stop drinking for, you know, a week and they're like, I didn't wake up with any pain this morning, you know, and they can really see that correlation.
TERESA: Which shows that inflammatory response that it has.
JOLENE: Exactly. It's just inflammatory to everybody. And as we age, we're more sensitive, sensitive to that inflammation.
TERESA: Yeah. And then we're pushing our expiration date.
JOLENE: I know it's also awful say expiration date, but it's kind, I mean, it's, it's kind of true.
TERESA: Well, right.
JOLENE: And yeah. Then when that happens too, is that alcohol dehydrates. Like we know that alcohol dehydrates, everything. So all those nice kind of like that moisture that we have in our joints for those cushions, they already decrease with age as well. Right? And then now you put on alcohol on top of that. Now they're even more dehydrated. And so now you're going to have like that kind of that bone-on-bone type of feeling in your joints. And of course, that is so painful. So we want to get rid of that inflammation. We want to make sure our cartilage stays hydrated. And we know that we can do that with not drinking. That will help with those things.
TERESA: And alcohol, it usually affects women more than men because women, you know, quite frankly, don't have the same amount of the liver enzymes needed to break down alcohol as men do.
TERESA: During menopause, just one glass of wine may feel like several glasses of wine, or maybe even the whole bottle because you know, it, those liver enzymes just maybe not working as well as they were before. You know, let's get serious about the harmful effects of drinking alcohol during menopause. The American Addiction Centers reported that women in menopause taking HRT, hormone replacement therapy, who have one to two drinks daily are three times more likely to develop breast cancer. So that's, I mean, three times, right? Currently one in eight women will develop breast cancer sometime in her life. One in eight. Three times more of a risk is concerning. There's a comment from a well-known menopausal doctor who said, “Life is about risk. We cross a road; we take a risk. We drink a glass of wine; we take a risk. My thought, I will only take that risk to celebrate very, very special occasions.”
JOLENE: Yeah. That's such a true statement. I, I really, you know, appreciate the information on breast cancer, but it, you know, to show people that relationship, since we were talking about toxins, you know, we, we have to remember that cancer is a disease of, of toxins, right, in our body for the most part, like too much of, of some sort of toxin. So just so to understand like why cancer and alcohol are so correlated.
TERESA: Right. And it increases the, the estrogen in the in women's bodies where not all estrogen is bad, but not doing it as your body is designed to is dangerous.
TERESA: Well, I think it's getting close to, to break time.
JOLENE: You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition and I have good news for you if you want or need to lose some weight. We have our in-person Nutrition for Weight Loss class starting the first week in June. If you are carrying extra pounds, I know how you feel. Because one time I had extra pounds, about a hundred pounds that I had to lose and lost it by eating real food. I had tried all fad diets, but it took me to actually learn about how food affects me and learning how to eat real food to be able to lose the weight. If you have any doubts about how effective real food is, call us and let's talk. Call 651-699-3438, or find us on www.weightandwellness.com and sign up for the class.
TERESA: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. If you're ready to put an end to cravings, pain and inflammation, mood swings, restless sleep, slow metabolism, and digestive issues, join me for our five-day “Breakup with Sugar” challenge starting May 16th. Like I said earlier, it's going to be fun. And you know, what would make it even more fun is if you would sign up with a friend. You can do it on your own, of course, but it's really fun to have an accountability partner and that makes it even better. So sign up today. Go to weightandwellness.com/challenge.
JOLENE: We were right in the middle of talking about how alcohol has maybe more of an effect on women that are menopausal. And we talked about some of those things with our liver slowing down as we age. And then having just those, those that pain that of course is no fun. But women, and I can attest to this as, you know, not menopausal yet, but a person that's, you know, older, worse hangovers, like I'm at the point in my life, I do choose to drink that it's like, there's a three-day plan, you know, to kind of recover because I just feel like I can't handle it. And so why is that?
And it goes back to that functionality of our liver and the enzymes in our liver. So enzymes are the things that break everything down. Those also degrade, right? And that just means we can't break down the alcohol as well, or it takes longer. Therefore, we have more negative effects that last longer, or are more intense. So for somebody like, for me, that used to drink wine every night. Okay. So there was a time in my life where I would have one or two at dinner. That was enough for me to be, I am done with it because I didn't have three days to recover every single time I had a glass of wine.
TERESA: I've heard that from several, several women, you know, it's like, it's just not worth it.
JOLENE: It's not worth it. Nope.
TERESA: You know, and I think that also, you know, if you're in menopause or perimenopause, have you noticed that alcohol can trigger hot flashes? And some report that red wine often triggers hot flashes immediately. Okay. So here's some more information on the dangers of drinking.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism in 2018, published a report titled Health Issues in Postmenopausal Women Who Drink. They looked at three major diseases affected by alcohol usage, coronary heart disease, breast cancer, and osteoporosis. The association between alcohol and bone density was rather surprising. If your bone density scores are in the osteopenia or osteoporosis range, alcohol is not doing you any good. In addition, think of the increased risk you are taking of potentially falling because you're not steady on your legs.
JOLENE: Yeah. That's scary. But we can definitely see that with our clients, that correlation, when we talk about osteopenia and osteoporosis. Well, we've given our listeners a lot of information, Teresa. So, so maybe it's time to kind of recap. I like to always try to bring things together.
TERESA: Yes. Good idea.
JOLENE: So let's go through like kind of some of the reasons why drinking alcohol can be hazardous to your health or affect the quality of your life. It's really more about the quality of your life. We want you to have the life that you want and feel good, feel healthy, feel happy. So let's just go through each one and why don't you start, Teresa, with, with sleep?
TERESA: Okay. So one reason that it is a risk for your health is because it interferes with your sleep. I mean, how many times do you have a glass of wine or a drink and you wake up in the middle of the night and you're like, why am I awake? And you can't fall back asleep.
TERESA: And you want to sleep, but you can't fall back asleep. It definitely interferes with your sleep. So one of my clients: I loved it. She said when she was giving up alcohol, so she could sleep better. She said, less fiesta, more siesta.
JOLENE: It's perfect. There should be a shirt or a mug for that. You know, we were talking about, about marketing. Let's do that one.
TERESA: Less fiesta; more siesta.
JOLENE: That is great. Another one that we talked about is that any amount of alcohol increases the risk for breast cancer. Women who drink two to five drinks per day have 1.5 times the risk compared to non-drinkers.
TERESA: Another reason: drinking alcohol often triggers hot flashes and night sweats.
JOLENE: The next one is that it increases the risk of all types of cancers, not just breast cancer.
TERESA: The fifth reason: heavy drinking increases your risk for cardiovascular disease.
JOLENE: Number six was that conversation we had about alcohol increasing your central obesity or the weight gain around the abdomen as we increase that, that fatty liver.
TERESA: The seventh thing we, or maybe not even in order, but number seven.
JOLENE: There you go; probably isn't in order.
TERESA: Heavy drinking can lead to osteoporosis.
JOLENE: Number eight: we didn't talk about this today because we, you know, we talk about sugar and so many other things, but binge drinking increases your risk for developing type two diabetes as we get into that metabolic dysfunction.
TERESA: Frequent alcohol usage increases your risk for developing depression and anxiety.
JOLENE: We see that a lot.
TERESA: Mm-Hmm. Yes.
JOLENE: Drinking and depression or, and, or anxiety.
JOLENE: Also, frequent alcohol usage stage increases your risk for developing memory problems and mood swings. So of course, it affects your brain.
TERESA: Yes, absolutely. I mean, we've really focused on the liver. I, in a previous show that I, I did with Brandy, we really talked about how it affects your brain. Mm-Hmm. Drinking a lot of alcohol over a long time or binge drinking can damage your heart causing irregular heartbeat, stroke, or high blood pressure.
JOLENE: And then we did talk about how alcohol dehydrates, our body causing some of that joint pain. But it also just dries out your skin. So that's where sometimes we get those premature wrinkles, dry skin, things that we obviously don't want. And, and like we said, one of the first things you can see is that face not looking as bloated, inflamed, or puffy when you stop drinking alcohol.
TERESA: Alcohol consumption can lead to increased body fat, dry thinning hair, and stomach problems such as acid reflux. So when we're talking about all this, like, don't drink, don't drink, don't drink, we always like to say, well, what can you do instead?
TERESA: Yes. So one of the things I tell my clients and granted, you know, it doesn't taste exactly the same. That's not, that's not what this is, but what it is is like, what kind of, how can we, how can we still have the ritual? Cause a lot of times it's the ritual of coming home from work and pouring that glass of wine or putting the kids to bed and having that, that drink, whatever it is. So it's basically what I tell people, keep everything the same, except for what you put in your glass.
TERESA: One thing I suggest for women is to maybe put two to three ounces of kombucha in your wine glass, because it kind of has that alcohol taste to it.
TERESA: It's sweeter than wine. So if you're not a sweet wine drinker, it's not like it it's a little different, but that could be something that you do. You know, also I have some clients that, you know, they prefer more of a dry drink, you know, they're more of a, a Manhattan or that type of drink. So one thing that I, that has worked for them is, you know, get your rocks glass out or your tumbler, you know, get, get some fancy ice if you want. And then club soda with bitters, or even like a flavored bitters, like a cherry bitters or something like that. And then with a little wedge of, of lemon, that can be a nice dry, sort of a, a dry drink.
JOLENE: And your favorite herb in there.
TERESA: Yeah. Put some rosemary in it.
TERESA: Mm-Hmm. Yeah. All those things.
JOLENE: And I of course tend to lean tours more of the sweeter cocktail, you know.
TERESA: Yeah. So what do you suggest?
JOLENE: So I just had this last night actually. I, like club soda, and then I just like a little bit of tart cherry juice in there. That’s a great combination or mineral water, but still gives you that carbonation and just kind of hits a spot. And of course, mint is always good on everything. Well, let me suggest that you can sign up for our June Nutrition for Weight Loss 12-class series to make your commitment to not drink alcohol during those 12 weeks. The class meets June, July, and August, and they're great months to get people healthy and take on a sober life at the same time. Our in-person classes are filling up fast because we all like to be with others and do this together. Call at (651) 699-3438. And let's have a dry, fun summer.
TERESA: Yeah. And it's such a great class for just that accountability cause each week you meet with people and you can, you know, swap stories on, on, and, and, and share all those things. And I think that just having that personal connection is so great. Well, our goal at Nutritional Weight and Wellness is to help each and every person experience better health through eating real food. It's a simple yet powerful message. Eating real food is life changing. Thank you for joining us today.