LC Blogger Answers the Question: Are Alcohol and Carbs Fattening? Part II

Part I

Fattening Things:

(It's been a little while, sorry) ...

Before continuing (and completing) this discussion, let me preface this post by saying that there is no single food or macronutrient that is inherently fattening in and of itself.  For any food -- let's say pizza because that is blamed quite often -- you can find obese people that are not big fans, and you can find bean poles who basically live off of the stuff (and wash it down with Coke).   But I do believe certain foods have demonstrated themselves to be problematic for a large enough proportion of the population so as to be designated:  potentially fattening.

Try as some may to rationalize against it, the bottom line is that if you eat too much of anything, the body's long term storage facility for that is fat tissue.   Your most potentially fattening foods, therefore, are:
  • Those (generally fat + carb combos) highly palatable foods that are easy to eat a lot of in and of themselves.  Too many to list.
  • Munchy, grazing foods:  think nuts, chips.
  • "Extra" foods:  think bread, desserts
  • Condiments/Additions:  dressings, dips, sugar, syrup, oils and butter to name a few.
  • Very energy dense foods, particularly if also one or more of the above - nuts, nut butters and cheeses come to mind.
  • Caloric drinks of all kinds
Alcohol is obviously among the latter.  A few years ago, two papers were published from "parallel arms" of a study investigating the effects of glucose vs. fructose sweetened beverages.   In one arm, lasting 10 weeks, overweight/obese subjects were instructed to consume 25% of their baseline energy intake (determined inpatient for 15P/30F/55C diet) in the form of the assigned sweetened beverage.  I'll talk about the other results later in this post, but the primary thing that happened is that during an 8 week outpatient phase, the subjects consumed, on average, 8% more total energy than at baseline, and ... drumroll ... they gained weight.  Many humans do not seem to sense liquid calories all that well, for whatever reason.  I'm all ears for studies pro and con, but when one considers that on average Americans are getting more calories from beverages, and on average Americans are consuming more calories, it is fair to say that liquid calories are a likely contributor towards the obesity epidemic.

Studies & Observations on Alcohol, Overall Consumption and Weight:

To the best of my knowledge, there are no experiments that have been conducted on alcohol and body weight.  By that I mean, I am not aware of any clinical trial of even a pilot one, where they took a bunch of non-drinkers and told them to go forth and drink 3 drinks per day for a year and report back.  The beverage study I just discussed could not be replicated with alcohol as it would run afoul of various ethics rules!  The best we have are several observational studies, such as NHANES data correlating drinking behavior and BMI and things like this.  Feel free to throw a ton of links here in comments, I pretty much just don't have the time to gather and present them here.  My general take is that these various studies appear to average out to a wash.  Similarly there  may be epidemiological studies that compare cultures, but these are difficult to interpret as well.

Bottom line ... do these tell us anything?  Well, I'd say that they tell us that alcohol may not be inherently fattening on a population-wide basis.   But alcohol is an interesting "food" in many ways:
  • Consumption is self-limited (many do not enjoy any level of intoxication, and those who do will, at some point, pass out!)
  • It comes in many forms and packages so that for a given dose of alcohol, caloric load varies widely
  • In different forms it seems to exert different benefits or negative effects (e.g. beer v. wine v. spirits)
  • There's a fairly well established benefit to modest consumption as well as near universal negative effects of over consumption.
It is also not a "food".  Someone might have a glass of milk as a snack, grab a candy bar for lunch, have cheese and crackers for dinner.  For various reasons folks might consume shakes, bars or even cookies as "meal replacements" ... alcohol is not a meal replacement!   It would be a rare person indeed who said to themselves, "I'm hungry, I think I'll have a beer for lunch today".  A beer with lunch, but not for lunch.   But herein lies a behavioral thing with alcohol as well.  Many casual drinkers are adding alcohol on top of their usual intake ... but many alcoholics often forget to eat and are rather otherwise malnourished.   In the case of the casual drinkers, you have a case differing even from the sweetened beverage study referenced above.  A goodly portion of many a "freshman fifteen" (weight gained during freshman year of college) can be attributed to the addition of alcohol calories to the diet.  Even the skinny guys (my recollection of my friends, especially the skinny guys!).    One of the tenets of "responsible drinking" is to never drink on an empty stomach so that you don't get as intoxicated.   Alcohol to replace some food calories?  Unheard of in any responsible publication!

So I think it's rather silly to even question whether or not alcohol can be fattening, but the arguments presented by Ian Lane in Calories Miss the Point: Why Food Should be Our Focus, provided an excellent jumping off point for fleshing out some arguments on calories vs. whatevertheheckelse.

One last aside:  I really didn't intend to write several posts about this or pick on Ian here, but there was just so much there.  As I'm in the process of writing on this topic, his article presented the opportunity to hone some arguments.  Also, much of what he has said, has been or is being said by others, so it's not really directed at just him per se either.

One really last aside:  There are more than two conditions of the body that are possible.  A whole range of shapes and compositions between the lean and the obese.  Nobody becomes obese overnight, or reverses obesity overnight.  Can we please move on from this notion that there are some people who will never get lean no matter what, and those who will never get obese no matter what?  This may well be true to a large extent, but this doesn't mean a skinny person can't find themselves with a gut at 40 or a chunky kid doesn't just grow out of their "baby fat".   Men and women seem to get bitten by the weight bug at different phases in life.  To me it is ignorant to presume there is such a thing as an inherent fat change resistant phenotype.  This is not the same as saying there is no regulatory mechanism in place, merely that it can be overridden.    OK ... moving on ...

The Bioendometabolical Effects of Alcohol Consumption

In Part I, I linked to and included excerpts from three studies on the effects of alcohol.  Perhaps I should have saved those for this post.  Heck.  I'll do a semi-copy here, names in parentheses are the prominent researchers amongst the authors.
The effect of ethanol on fat storage in healthy subjects. (Jequier)
Ethanol, either added to the diet or substituted for other foods, increases 24-hour energy expenditure and decreases lipid oxidation. Habitual consumption of ethanol in excess of energy needs probably favors lipid storage and weight gain.

Ethanol causes acute inhibition of carbohydrate, fat, and protein oxidation and insulin resistance (Boden)
Administered ethanol (0.75 g/kg over 30 min) followed by glucose (0.5 g/kg over 5 min) by IV infusion. Approximately 22g of ethanol was metabolized fully to carbon dioxide and water over 4 hours.
  • decreased total body fat oxidation by 79%
  • decreased total body protein oxidation by 39%
  • almost completely abolished the 249% rise in carbohydrate oxidation seen in controls after glucose infusion
  • decreased the basal rate of glucose appearance (GRa) by 30% and the basal rate of glucose disappearance (GRd) by 38%
  • potentiated glucose-stimulated insulin release by 54%
  • no effect on glucose tolerance.
  • 36% decrease in glucose disposal with hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp 
  • acute insulin resistance which was compensated for by hypersecretion of insulin
De novo lipogenesis, lipid kinetics, and whole-body lipid balances in humans after acute alcohol consumption (Hellerstein)
Following a 24g oral dose of ethanol (about 1.5 shots) 
  • Adipose release of nonesterified fatty acids into plasma decreased by 53% 
  • Whole-body lipid oxidation decreased by 73%.
In summary, alcohol does everything carbs do, in most cases to a greater degree, at a lower dose.  Alcohol:
  • Suppresses lipolysis, thus
  • Lowering circulating free fatty acids  
  • Suppresses fatty acid oxidation (actual fat burning)
  • Increases insulin
  • Stimulates de novo lipogenesis
So if it doesn't make us fat according to Ian Lane, because it is unlikely to be the carbon source of stored triglycerides, then what about the rest of this stuff?   It's rather odd how in the various paleo and low carb books, concessions will be made for adding alcohol back in, but not carbs.  If there is anything to the various ever-changing hypotheses, alcohol does what carbohydrates are accused of to a much higher degree.  Vodka is OK ... but not the grains or potatoes it is made from?  

From Dr. Eric Westman's "No Sugar, No Starch Diet" in the Appendix of Why We Get Fat:

At first, avoid alcohol consumption on this diet. At a later point in time, as weight loss and dietary patterns become well established, alcohol in moderate quantities, if low in carbohydrates, may be added back into the diet.
From Keto Clarity p. 150:

From The New Atkins for a New You (reader location 288/652)

Say cheers! Now that you’re in OWL, you can have alcohol if you wish—and if experience shows that you can handle it. There are several things to consider about consuming alcohol while losing weight. Most mixers, including tonic water, are wildly high in carbs, especially any made with fruit juice. (Sugar-free tonic water is acceptable.) So are flavored brandy and other cordials (although aged brandy and Cognac are low in sugar). Although most spirits contain no carbs, your body will metabolize alcohol before fat (in this respect, alcohol is a macronutrient), so drinking slows down fat burning and may slow your weight loss. And, of course, be sure to count the carbs.
Drink spirits neat or on the rocks with a lemon twist. A 12-ounce serving of regular beer contains up to 13 grams of carbs, which is clearly too high for OWL. A single light beer or, better yet, low-carb beer should be your brew of choice in this phase, and keep it to one. A glass of wine with dinner can make a basic meal a special occasion, but steer clear of sugary wine coolers and sweet dessert wines. You may find that you’re more susceptible to the effects of alcohol while doing Atkins. And because alcohol can make you drop your inhibitions, you may find it more difficult to stay away from chips and other high-carb snack foods that often accompany alcohol. For all these reasons, the best advice we can give you is to go easy. If you have trouble reining yourself in, you might be better off avoiding alcohol until you’re more in control.
The paleos are rather funny about this as I've read countless rules for various 30 day "indoctrinations".  Several will even make sure you know that alcohol can be added back.  It's only 30 days!  You can do it!!   In Chapter Eight of The Paleo Solution, a chapter on stress and sleep, Robb Wolf introduces his readers to "Charlie" and discusses all the ways the poor guy can mess himself up -- gawd forbid he just take a nap!!   How about alcohol?  Robb devotes a few pages to the topic beginning on p. 137:

I Like the Nightlife! I’ve Got to Boogie! 
Ahhh, booze! So much fun, such a great way to ruin your health! Here is how most folks try to live ...
Blah blah blah about reasons people shouldn't drink  but refuse to comply  so here's the work around:
... Here are field-tested booze recommendations from a biochemistry graduate from America’s top party school:  
You catch that?  Robb's degree is from America's top party school.  This might explain a few things ...
Happy Hour
Alcohol has a nasty effect on dating standards and growth hormone release. It is outside the scope of this book to address your beer goggles, so we will stick with the purely physiological ramifications of alcohol consumption. What you need to know is that alcohol does not just blunt growth hormone release, it just turns it off. This is not good for your health, recovery, or body composition. Solution? Well, I’d never want to make you uncomfortable and suggest perhaps not being a lush . . . so here is what we do: Drink earlier. You need to get your booze in as far away from bedtime as you can. I will not give you liver clearance rates of alcohol so you can try to figure out how to “beat the system.” You just need to get your main drinking done earlier in the evening. 
In the Clear Much of the problem with drinking is not the booze itself but all the crap, usually sugar, that comes along with it. Ditch your froufrou drinks with the umbrellas and go for clear liquor. My favorite is Tequila (gold), prepared with the following ingredients:
The Infamous NorCal Margarita! 2 shots of gold tequila
Juice of 1 lime (the whole damn thing!)
Splash of soda water. 
Drink one or two of these on an empty stomach early in your evening. Wrap up the night with some protein and fat, and you are set. You socialized, got your head change, and did not do too much damage to yourself. There is also some chemistry behind the recommendations. The lime juice blunts insulin release and the carbon dioxide bubbles in the soda water act as what’s called a “nonpolar solvent.” This actually extracts the alcohol from the drink and delivers it to your system faster. Better living through chemistry!
So 4 shots of alcohol = about 55 grams of alcohol.  More than double the amounts in the studies cited above.  Imagine all the fat burning shut down going on there!  Just make sure to follow that up with a few eggs or a rib eye, and it's paleo baybeee!   Whatever you do?  The REAL damaging stuff is those beans man.  Don't be having the beans, or a glass of milk, or a slice of toast!!!  Because right after the alcohol recommendations from the party school grad we have:
Neolithic Foods
Remember that chapter on grains, legumes, and dairy? Remember how that stuff is really damaging to your innards and can cause a ton of problems? Yeah, it gets worse. Those foods also release cortisol. Many people who have food intolerances will notice an increased pulse rate after eating that food. If these foods are damaging the gut (and they are), it registers as a stress on the body, and the response to stress is cortisol. This situation is not a one-way street by the way. Let’s say you tolerate grains relatively well (at least better than I do, as even a tiny gluten exposure will lay me up for days). What if you were suddenly exposed to a significant stress? You had to care for an ailing parent, you had to work a huge amount of overtime at work, your sleep gets seriously impacted, you are pushing too hard getting ready for your marathon. How do you think this stress might affect your tolerance to Neolithic foods like grains, legumes, and dairy? Interestingly enough, this life stress has a very negative impact on your gut health, which then has an impact on your ability to deal with that stress, which can then impact your sleep. It all fits together.

Yes folks, whatever you do, nevermind that Robb also told you that alcohol is a gut irritant.  Just drink early and on an empty stomach to get the full impact.  Whatever you do, don't be having a bowl of beans and rice at the end of the night!!

I presume Professor Tim Noakes, a Johnny-come-lately low carber from South Africa, approves of Robb's advice.  After all, he's bringing back Banting!!  This was Banting's approximate diet

Alcohol to comprise as much as 35% of calories, with fat, carbs and protein roughly equally distributed at 20-25% of calories each to make up the difference.  You CANNOT change history here.  It is all there in Banting's Letter on Corpulence .  A publication in which, by the way, Banting pointed fingers at fatty meats and fish with the same hand he used to do so with beer and bread.  But in Noakes' land of make believe, Banting was the original LCHF success story.

Perhaps most of all, it is Banting who defies the whole fat burning nonsense best.  Because this man pretty much had his fatty acid mobilization and his fatty acid oxidation good and right tamped down almost around the clock!  See the list above!  And yet, he "cured" his obesity.  Because in the end it is calories that count.  Period.

OK, I've got one more for you to make Ian feel better and spread the spotlight around.  One of these days I'm going to have to address John Kiefer -- yet another physics major turned nutrition and fitness expert who proffers up hypotheses as proven fact that even Taubes himself has denounced.  He likes to go by Kiefer, he's an "expert" in Keto Clarity with such gems as

Kiefer is the "Carb Back Loading" guy who loves cherry turnovers or something like that.  So this video is not too long, but the first minute ought to suffice ...

I'm aware that Kiefer and Robb are buddies these days, oh to be a fly on the wall when these two pound a few down?!   At about 1:20 Kiefer says to drink straight alcohol just before bed to preserve muscle mass!  Robb drinks early -- so do they party at 7pm after which Kiefer hits the sack while Robb joins the function of x dude in the hotel bar till midnight?  How does this work exactly??

But I digress ... Kiefer begins with the ridiculous notion that alcohol is almost negative calories due to its thermogenic effect.  But alcohol does ALL of the "nasty" things carbs do, only moreso and then some.   But on your carb night, you can really get soused!  Especially the ladies (shhhh don't tell anyone Kiefer told you so, but alcohol -- like running according to this guy -- will give you a flat butt!) .  Man the tangled nonsense that must be conjured up when seeking to obfuscate the truth.

Where the Diet Industry Gets it Right (for a Change):

I first learned about alcohol and weight likely from a woman's magazine like Self, back in my late teens.  There were always two advice trains of thought:

1.  How not to get too drunk -- This involved such tactics as eating before going out, limiting drinks, and spacing drinks out by alternating with a non-caloric beverage like seltzer or a diet soda.    Basically the opposite of party school grad advice.  And then there was ...

2.  How not to gain weight -- Perhaps out of a sense of responsibility, the mainstream industry has never focused on the thermogenic effects of alcohol.  Good on them.  But with alcohol -- fat distribution and health impacts aside -- the calorie-based rationales are solid.  Because:

  • Alcohol calories are burned off first, so while they might not be stored themselves, they displace calories from other sources, therefore ...
  • Calories from other macros consumed with alcohol will be stored rather than burned for energy.
Therefore, from a weight point of view, our party school grad is aces!   Skinny Girl cocktails anyone?  No difference!!  

The casual drinker may well be slightly overweight because:
  • The calories in those special drinks at the restaurant really add up fast
  • With inhibitions down, you are more likely to go off a restrictive diet you may be on and
  • 24 Hour diners make a killing in college towns (self explanatory)
The regular-to-problem drinker may well be slightly underweight because:
  • They do not "drink responsibly" and make sure to eat something, get their protein, nutrition, etc. in first, and
  • They cannot consume maintenance calories in alcohol alone as most do not drink apple martinis.
Interestingly, the fatty acid starved cells don't cause insane carb cravings in the alcoholic, so there goes that idea too!  But either way, the First Law of Thermodynamics applies exquisitely once again, and CICO is a consistent explanation across all observations.   The endocrine, insulin, hormonal, fat burning vs. sugar burning, blood sugar rollercoaster, whatever explanation simply does not.  It fits a subset of the observations, often taken out of context, as it always has.   As Ian puts it, these endocrine effects are temporary:
Well, probably because the body is too busy ridding itself of this poison to bother breaking down carbohydrates and fat,[6-9] and so inhibits lipolysis temporarily to deal with the most important substrate, first.
Emphasis mine.  Dietary carbohydrates do the exact same thing -- temporarily.  In the end.  The body secretes insulin and other hormones in response to the quantity of energy-containing substances you ingest.  Insulin then directs the metabolic substrate traffic on a round-the-clock basis in an effort to maintain a steady supply of fuel to all of your cells.  Excess is stored as glycogen and fat for when energy is not actively coming in to the system.  But it sure is amusing, if not frustrating, to hear all of the convoluted explanations for why this really isn't so.


I am certainly not suggesting one swap out alcohol for other foods.  Or anything of the usual strawman sort that all calories are the same so someone consuming 2000 cal/day of alcohol would equal someone consuming 2000 cal/day of butter.

But the ridiculous "biochemical interactions and receptor hormone theory of everything" just doesn't cut it.  It may explain -- heck it DOES explain -- differences in fat distribution.  Beer belly anyone?  Wheat belly?  Not so much ... in fact there is zero evidence that wheat promotes visceral abdominal fat accumulation or even those "love handles" Davis confuses with such fat depots.  Alcohol can raise HDL.  Alcohol can make you seem metabolically more healthy by suppressing glucose production by the liver thereby lowering fasting glucose levels.

What makes you gain weight and fat?  Calories (all source) in excess of expenditure.  What makes you lose weight and  fat?  Calories (all source) failing to meet expenditure needs.  What about lean mass?  Gains or losses of lean mass are generally dictated by a combination of genetics, gender, protein intake and activity level/type.  To a fair degree, calories from non-protein macros are relatively interchangeable for providing energy to the body.

So let's stop the this food or this macro makes you fat, or this food or this macro can't make you fat nonsense.  In this regard, the low fat camp has always been honest, save for a few Susan Powter types.  Low fat in the context of body weight is, was and forever shall be about calories.   The low carb camp has always been dishonest, save for the few that are shouted down and don't write diet books.  

The Big Fat Surprise was or is being released in the UK this month and Nina Teicholz is taking her increasingly polished road show ... well ... back out on the road.    We don't know exactly what makes us fat, she says, but we know what doesn't.  Fat.  That's right, fat doesn't make us fat.  No of course not.  Eating the macronutrient that is already in the form that our body stores energy could never be part of the issue and Americans have been dutifully following government recommendations to the extreme!

Only that makes about as much sense and less than saying that alcohol can't make you fat.   Just a thought...


David Pete said…
On occasion I replace my breakfast with a couple beers. Just Sayin
Kenny M said…
Kiefer begins with the ridiculous notion that alcohol is almost negative calories due to its thermogenic effect.

If this is true, I should be underweight by now - judging by my last decade of decadence.
carbsane said…
You're not supposed to admit that! :p
charles grashow said…

For breakfast, I take four or five ounces of beef, mutton, kidneys, broiled fish, bacon, or cold meat of any kind except pork; a large cup of tea (without milk or sugar); a fit tie biscuit, or one ounce of dry toast.
For dinner, five or six ounces of any fish except salmon, any meat except pork, any vegetable except potato, one ounce of dry toast, fruit out of a pudding, any kind of poultry or game, and two or three glasses of good claret, sherry, or Madeira - Champagne, Port and Beer are forbidden.
For tea, Two or three ounces of fruit, a rusk or two, and a cup of tea without milk or sugar.
For supper, Three or four ounces of meat or fish, similar to dinner, with a glass or two of claret.
For nightcap, if required, A tumbler of grog (gin, whisky, or brandy without sugar) or a glass or two of claret or sherry.
I wonder about the proscription against pork and yet the mention of bacon as an option for breakfast, but adding up we have a maximum of 14 oz of meat (except pork), poultry, game or fish (except salmon). He also ate 3-4 slices of dried toast (or equivalent) and a small amount of fruit (like half a small apple). On top of all of this he consumed up to 7 glasses of wine (or spirits in the evening).

Low-carbohydrate and high-fat intake can manage obesity and associated conditions: Occasional survey
T D Noakes
John Smith said…
I never drink two of the same thing, if you keep throwing different types of alcohol at your system it confuses it and keeps you in fat burning beast mode.

Beer, port wine, tequila, prosecco, bourbon, absinthe, vodka, sherry, ouzo, chardonnay that's the way you want to do it.
MacSmiley said…
I took a look at my neighbor's long line of empty tall cans of beer. Not a Nutrition Facts panel to be found. How come there's nothing on the can (bottle, or whatever) to tell the imbiber how many liquid calories are in the container?
billy the k said…
Whenever I happen to read some diet advisor employ the phrase
" clients"
, experience has taught me it's a fairly reliable tipoff that we're dealing with another charlatan after a fast buck--you know--just like that last charlatan who cranked out a best-seller extolling [or more frequently demonizing] some particular food item.
StellaBarbone said…
Ah hah! We do agree on something.
Mark said…
Different statute, different regulatory agency.
billy the k said…
You betcha, Stella...
[Hey--didn't I already tell ya?--we're closer than you think!]
Sanjeev Sharma said…
me and my clients disagree with both of you
Lighthouse Keeper said…
Interestingly in 17th century England that was the norm in certain quarters. Anyone familiar with the Diary Of Samuel Pepys will tell you he would more often than not forego breakfast and partake in a "morning draught" in a tavern or inn.
billy the k said…
Yeah, but it's OKbecause Carbsane visitors know very well that, regardless of clients, Señor Sharma is no fast buck [loonie!] chasing best-selling charlatan diet advisor.
Sanjeev Sharma said…
is this a prelude to a group hug?
Sanjeev Sharma said…
this is pretty new socially, isn't it?

aren't there a lot of movies from the 20s to the 60s where the characters hold a full martini glass almost the entire time?
billy the k said…
No ¡no! Handshakes for Señor,--hugs are reserved for the Señoritas!
[OK--and occaisionally for the Señoras too, when their husbands happen to be out in the kitchen...]
What a touching exchange and moment of camaraderie, even.

So much mush that I'm gonna' vomit.
Milliondays said…
Re : "Can we please move on from this notion that there are some people who will never get lean no matter what, and those who will never get obese no matter what? This may well be true to a large extent"

Just a question : in a famine situation, can there still be obese people?
billy the k said…
Be careful to not get any on that Les Paul Custom...
Pedro said…
Kiefer's work is a rich source of this kind of statements, usually backed by completely misrepresented or misunderstood scientific articles.
Sanjeev Sharma said…
vodka→ beer FTW(not to be confused with vodka→ beer WTF)
carbsane said…
Who knew I had such lush-cious readers? :-P
billy the k said…
Yeah--it's a bitch to get it off the pickups!
But on the upside, you won't need a stack of Marshall's--[talk
billy the k said…
Yeah--and who knew that my old friend ethyl alcohol was verging on being not such a friend after all?  Your round-up above of its various effects and consequences was sufficient to give me pause: should I--you know--cut back on my drinking? [quitting is out of the question]  Am I heading toward a cascade of pathologies?

Some say: "A meal without wine is--breakfast!"
[Others respond: "That's where beer can fit in."
And recalling WC Fields:  "...Yes, we were stranded for 2 weeks, and had to get by on nothing but food and water..."

Fortunately, reason finally prevailed.  Though I'm no joie de vivrist, Cabernet will remain at supper-time.

"So convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable creature, since it enables 
one to find or make a reason for everything one has a mind to do."

[Ben Franklin. The Autobiography]
Sanjeev Sharma said…
OFF, OFF topic

staying mostly off the web for a while, I missed this:

next up: Mercola? Dickoley? Chopra? Oz?t
MacSmiley said…
"Shaken, not stirred." 😜
MacSmiley said…
Thanks for the "this video" link in the text, Evelyn!
Greta Carbo said…
It bugs me that alcohol is considered as a carb. It is closer to a carbohydrate than protein or fats but it really should remain in a category of its own as its calories need to be counted if you are counting. Its molecular formula is stunted compared to a carb, C2H6O to C6H12O6 glucose. 6 carbons and 6 molecules of water in perfect balance ready to be completely oxidized, German chocolate cake never tasted so good.

Anyway alcohol bypasses glycolysis and its very important metabolism to be metabolized to acetate in two steps reducing two NAD+ in the process. Alcohol quickly upsets the NADH-NAD ratio which after a drink or two begins screwing things up (as you cover well in the post). OTOH, after a glass or three of one of the Noble Grapes I can vouch in absolute Alcohol Acuity, if not clarity, that drinking has its virtues.

Speaking of Clarety, I am wondering if KC is worth buying for its MofC sidebars? The Davis MofC is actually factual afaik although I balk at piety of all kinds, including permissive piety, as Robb says its okay and it's in a paleo cookbook so it's okay. But I am overreacting, this one is not bad. Otoh, the Kiefer MofC says absolutely nothing of keto anything; in the text it would be merely boring, but as a sidebar it is funny as hell (as in is that the best you can do?). It adds nothing to clarity, but it does suggest moments of clarity might be moments of fun and worth buying for that. Or not. Maybe when the book is 1 cent on Amazon Marketplace.

When I was in college, way back when old academic structures had ivy growing all over them, the big advice on not getting drunk was to eat greasy food, the more the better, between each drink even. The factoid was that the grease would coat the intestines and it was *impossible* for the alcohol to be absorbed. Or more slowly anyway. I laugh now, but I miss the old days, things had so much more clarity back then.

I like advice on alcohol as it easy to ignore. However I leave you with this old wives tale but has-a-point tidbit: mix your drinks but do not mix your mixes. Mixing your mixes will make you sick before you are ready to stop and is not good for the decor.
billy the k said…
Speaking of advice on drinking, the following recollection of Samuel Beckett contains some sound advice [which I follow!] from the Nobel Prize winner himself:

"Nights when we’d drunk too much for me to write anything at all (as an American just out of milkshakes and the regulation Chianti); evenings which sometimes lasted till four in the morning, whiskey alternating with wine, capped with a few beers, crowned by champagne.

They drank up and down the Boulevard Montparnasse, Avigdor and Sam—Sam's companion, Suzanne, never joined us— chummily bobbing along in full fettle, Sam assuring Avigdor too solemnly, and too late, as they lurched onwards:--“Wein nach Bier das rat ich dir; Bier nach Wein das rat ich kein”:

“wine after beer I can advise, beer after wine would not be wise”,
--towards the Dôme, where they often ran into Giacometti, myself in a state of near collapse...
[Anne Atik.  Beckett & Poetry; a Memoir]
Greta Carbo said…
Awesome quote!
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