It’s Christmas and party time! For sure as in many Filipino gatherings, alcoholic drinks abound. Should you drink, health experts advise moderate drinking. The amount of pure alcohol therein is what the liver can metabolize or process without causing adverse effects. Women have less of the enzyme, alcohol dehydrogenase, needed to “dispose” of alcohol in the body thus limited to only one drink. Of course, alcohol is a no-no for pregnant women and any female who, for any reason, may be pregnant. The placental barrier cannot block the absorption or entry of alcohol into the placenta and then the fetal organs and the adverse effects of alcohol will certainly affect the developing fetus. Fetal alcohol syndrome is lifetime and sudden infant deaths have also been reported.
Moderate drinking means intake of one drink for women, and 1-2 drinks for men on a daily basis. The quantity of one (1) drink varies according to type of alcoholic drink. For hard drinks such as gin and rum or some 80 proof drink, one drink is one shot (1.5 oz/42 ml). If beer, one drink is one 12-oz (336 ml) bottle and if wine, about half glass or 5 ounces or 140 ml. It is not the type of alcoholic beverage that matters. It is the amount of pure alcohol obtained from drinking. Note that the allowance is on a daily basis such that one who drinks once in a week only, should still be limited to 1-2 drinks. What was not drunk in past days will be forgotten.
Beyond moderate drinking is excessive drinking which is bad for health in many ways we have heard often. There’s added calories leading to overweight and obesity (with or without a “beer belly”), deficiency in vitamins particularly thiamin (vitamin B-1), liver cirrhosis, pancreatitis, some cancers including that of mouth, throat, larynx, esophagus, liver in addition to violence, accidents, other alcohol-use disorders and even death.
As we find ways to enjoy the Yuletide season, let us be wary of our consumption which will affect tomorrow’s health with unnecessary yet significant impact on the family.