Thursday, December 25, 2008

Recovering from Alcoholism Nutritionally

During the first year of your recovery from alcohol, what you don’t eat is probably more important than what you do.

• Eliminate table sugar, sweets, pastries, and soft drinks sweetened with cane sugar or corn syrup.
• Eat fruit in moderation. Do not eat dried fruit, citrus, or grapes.
• Avoid bread, potatoes, and rice.
• Unless you have been diagnosed as having cirrhosis, eat a protein food (preferably lean meat or soy) three times a day.
• If you are still drinking, remember that the combination of alcohol and sugar is especially detrimental to your health, fructose even worse than sucrose. A bourbon and Coke is bad, a margarita is worse. Dessert wines are more detrimental than dry wines.

Because of the pervasive effects of alcohol on appetite and metabolism, nutrition for alcoholics requires supplements rather than whole foods. One of the most important things you can do to manage your health if you drink heavily is to avoid sugar. Alcohol aggravates the crash that follows a sugar high, making you want to drink to boost your blood sugar levels temporarily only to have them crash again. You can break this cycle by avoiding sugar. Eliminate table sugar, sweets, and pastries. Be especially careful to eliminate soft drinks sweetened with high-fructose syrup. In alcoholics, this form of sugar more than any other contributes to reactive hypoglycemia and the soar and crash cycle of sugar consumption.

Some facts bear repeating:

Praised and prohibited, source of enjoyment and source of tragedy, alcohol is the world’s most common food. Although alcohol is an extremely “processed” food, it relieves hunger better than carbohydrate, protein, or fat. For social drinkers, here is the untold story of how alcohol interacts with your metabolism and how your body determines whether alcohol is benefit or a detriment to your health.

If you are a problem drinker, one of the most important things you can do to manage your health is to avoid sugar. Alcohol aggravates the crash that follows a sugar high, making you want to drink to boost your blood sugar levels temporarily only to have them crash again. You can break this cycle by avoiding sugar. Eliminate table sugar, sweets, and pastries. Be especially careful to eliminate soft drinks sweetened with high-fructose syrup. In alcoholics, this form of sugar more than any other contributes to reactive hypoglycemia and the soar and crash cycle of sugar consumption.

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