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What is the Value of Alcohol to Your Body? Part 3 of 4
Can alcohol make you stronger? If alcohol does not contain tissue-building material, nor give heat to the body, it cannot possibly add to its strength. "Every kind of power an animal can generate," says Dr. G. Budd, F.R.S., "the mechanical power of the muscles, the chemical (or digestive) power of the stomach, the intellectual power of the brain accumulates through the nutrition of the organ on which it depends."
Dr. F.R. Lees, of Edinburgh, after discussing the question, and educing evidence, remarks: "From the very nature of things, it will now be seen how impossible it is that alcohol can be strengthening food of either kind. Since it cannot become a part of the body, it cannot consequently contribute to its cohesive, organic strength, or fixed power; and, since it comes out of the body just as it went in, it cannot, by its decomposition, generate heat force."
Baron Liebig, so far back as 1843, in his "Animal Chemistry," pointed out the fallacy of alcohol generating power. He says: "The circulation will appear accelerated at the expense of the force available for voluntary motion, but without the production of a greater amount of mechanical force." In his later "Letters," he again says: "Wine is quite superfluous to man, it is constantly followed by the expenditure of power" whereas, the real function of food is to give power. He adds: "These drinks promote the change of matter in the body, and are, consequently, attended by an inward loss of power, which ceases to be productive, because it is not employed in overcoming outward difficulties i.e., in working." In other words, this great chemist asserts that alcohol abstracts the power of the system from doing useful work in the field or workshop, in order to cleanse the house from the defilement of alcohol itself.
The late Dr. W. Brinton, Physician to St. Thomas', in his great work on Dietetics, says: "Careful observation leaves little doubt that a moderate dose of beer or wine would, in most cases, at once diminish the maximum weight which a healthy person could lift. Mental acuteness, accuracy of perception and delicacy of the senses are all so far opposed by alcohol, as that the maximum efforts of each are incompatible with the ingestion of any moderate quantity of fermented liquid. A single glass will often suffice to take the edge off both mind and body, and to reduce their capacity to something below their perfection of work."
Dr. F.R. Lees, F.S.A., writing on the subject of alcohol as a food, makes the following quotation from an essay on "Stimulating Drinks," published by Dr. H.R. Madden, as long ago as 1847: "Alcohol is not the natural stimulus to any of our organs, and hence, functions performed in consequence of its application, tend to debilitate the organ acted upon.
Alcohol is incapable of being assimilated or converted into any organic proximate principle, and hence, cannot be considered nutritious. Without being nutritious it can generate energy or power.
The strength experienced after the use of alcohol is not new strength added to the system, but is manifested by calling into exercise the nervous energy pre-existing.
The ultimate exhausting effects of alcohol, owing to its stimulant properties, produce an unnatural susceptibility to morbid action in all the organs, and this, with the extreme excess , becomes a fertile source of disease.
A person who habitually exerts himself to such an extent as to require the daily use of stimulants to ward off exhaustion, may be compared to a machine working under high pressure. He will become much more obnoxious to the causes of disease, and will certainly break down sooner than he would have done under more favorable circumstances.
The more frequently alcohol is had recourse to for the purpose of overcoming feelings of being weak and unhealthy, the more it will be required, and by constant repetition a period is at length reached when it cannot be foregone, unless reaction is simultaneously brought about by a temporary total change in the way person leads his or her life.
In the last part of this series we will look at how those who tried to support the theory that alcohol had some food value, change their direction by saying alcohol is a secondary food, in that it has the power to delay the metamorphosis of tissue.
About the Author: Dave Fitzgerald writes articles on health and showing ways to live longer, happier and more successful in your everyday life.
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