Is Alcohol a Food?

One of the most specious, and therefore deceptive, arguments used to sanction the daily use of moderate amounts of beverages containing alcohol, is the claim that alcohol has a food value.

By J. G. WHITE, Madison College, Tennessee

One of the most specious, and therefore deceptive, arguments used to sanction the daily use of moderate amounts of beverages containing alcohol, is the claim that alcohol has a food value. For instance, the manufacturers of beer acclaim it as a food, and in this way beguile the ignorant into its use. They now prate about the minerals and vitamins in cer­tain brands of beer, because it is known today that the human body cannot exist without minerals and vitamins. It is not possible, how­ever, to embody in a poison like alcohol enough of these life-giving substances to make the concoction of value as a food, but it is possible to fool the public.

Still another claim has been made by its pro­ponents for many years. They take certain statements to the effect that alcohol can be converted into heat and energy, and lead people to believe that these statements mean that alcohol is a food. They do this by disassociat­ing these statements from others concerning its physiological actions, with which they be­long, and which would give a balanced inter­pretation; and in this way they give a distorted or one-sided interpretation of the facts, which very easily deceives the unlearned and the unwary.

Thus it becomes necessary to do some very careful, thorough work to make known the true nature of alcohol.

The writer has gathered from many sources of authority, statements concerning the food value of alcohol, and concerning its physiolog­ical effects. These statements have been re­solved into twenty-one points and placed in a column entitled "Alcohol." In a companion column, the relation of food to these twenty-one points has been stated as given by food authorities. The contrast between these two columns is strong enough to convince the truth seeker and to end all argument. The decep­tion is unmasked. The numbers in parenthesis refer to biblography at close.

Food

1. Food is digested to make it ready for the body to use it. (1)

2. Food repairs the tissue. (7, 8)

3. Food provides energy.

4. Food maintains strength and endurance.

5. Food maintains the body's immunity or resistance to disease.

6. Food can be stored in the body for future use. 

7. When the concentration of normal nutrient in the blood exceeds the rate of absorption by the body's demands, it is withdrawn from the blood by the liver and muscles, except in diabetes.

8. Food supplies elements which provide for oxidation.

9. Food oxidation increases with exercise, which is normal. (41)

10. Food assists in maintaining a natural temperature in the body.

11. Food properly includes water. (44) Al­though water is not a source of heat, energy, or repair, it is necessary to these processes, as it is essential to all life and life proc­esses.

12. Water allays thirst. (46)

13. Food contributes to normal mental func­tions.

14. Food contributes to normal physical func­tions.

15. Food's dominant action is to build up the body, and contribute to life. (52)

16. Food is essential to the life, growth, and development of the young.

17. Food can be used in quantities that will fully supply the needs of the body for heat, energy, and repair.

18. Food, as such, is in a natural state.

19. Food does not require an ever-increasing amount to produce the same effect.

20. Food, when used, does not create a desire for an ever-increasing quantity. It satisfies a normal appetite.

21. Food is welcomed by the body as a friend to all its parts and processes.

Alcohol

1. Alcohol passes unchanged into the blood and body cells. (2, 3, 4, 5, 6)

2. Alcohol damages tissue, and cannot repair it. (9, 10, 11, 12, 13)

3. Alcohol, it is claimed, can be oxidized (14) and produce energy (15, 16); but by hinder­ing oxidation of food (17), hindering metab­olism (18), and narcotizing nerves and cells, it lessens the amount of energy available to the body, so that the net result is a loss of energy.(19; 20, 21, 22)

4. Alcohol finally hastens fatigue and lessens endurance. (23, 24, 25, 26, 27)

5. Alcohol breaks down the body's resistance to disease. (28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34)

6. Alcohol cannot be stored. (35, 36, 37) The body gets rid of it as quickly as possible.

7. Alcohol is 'unlike food in that it cannot be withdrawn from the blood, as can food when the concentration is high. (38)

8. Alcohol hinders the oxidation of foods (39), and even hinders its own oxidation. (40)

9. Alcohol oxidation does not materially in­crease with exercise. (42)

10. Alcohol is claimed to produce heat by oxidation, but because it diffuses more heat than it produces, the net result is a loss of heat and a lowering of the body tempera­ture. (This and No. 3 are the strongest claims (43) of the proponents of alcohol.)

11. Alcohol is said to be a dehydrant, which means that it draws water from the cells and tissues, lessening the amount of water available for use in the body. (45)

12. Alcohol creates thirst. (47)

13. Alcohol paralyzes mental functions. (48, 49)

14. Alcohol paralyzes physical functions. (50, 54)

15. Alcohol's dominant action is to destroy the body-to kill. (53, 54)

16. Alcohol hinders the life processes, and thus hinders the growth and development of the young. (55, 56, 57)

17. Alcohol, if used in quantities sufficient to supply the body's need for either heat or energy, is disastrous to the mechanism of the body. (58) If the quantity taken is so small as to do no damage, it has no food value. (59, 60) In order to get worth-while amounts of food, in this sense, from alcohol, one must swallow poisonous doses of the drug qualities.

18. Alcohol is a by-product of the decay of that which was food. (61)

19. Alcohol requires an ever-increasing amount to produce the same effect. (62, 63)

20. Alcohol creates a desire that develops a craving which results in a "habit." It creates an unnatural craving. (64, 65, 66, 67)

21. Alcohol is regarded as an intruder, an enemy and a poison,-and the body seeks to eliminate (68) it as fast as possible in order to save the body from injury so far as pos­sible.

The consideration of these points removes alcohol from being regarded as either a fuel or a food for the body. One authority has likened the fuel use of alcohol in the body to the use of sea water in running an engine. It may be attempted for a short time, but soon ruins the machinery.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

1. "Alcohol and the Human Body," Horsley & Sturge, p. 182.

2. "Alcohol and the Human Body," Horsley & Sturge, p. 183.

3. "Alcohol and Man," Haven Emerson, M.D., p. 10.

4. "Alcohol-Its Action on the Human Organism," Medical Research Council, pp. 32, 119.

5. Journal American Medical Association, Edi­torial, No. 30, 1935.

6. "What About Alcohol ?" Emil Bogen, M.D., p. 33.

7. "Alcohol and the Human Body," Horsley & Sturge, p. 182.

8. "Alcohol and Human Life," C. C. Weeks, M. D., p. 66.

9. "Alcohol and the Human Body," Horsley & Sturge, p. 183.

10. "Alcohol and Human Life," C. C. Weeks, M.D., pp. 65, 67, 75.

11. "Alcohol, a Food, a Drug, a Poison" (leaflet), Haven Emerson, M.D., p. 2.

12. "Materia Medica, Pharmacology, Therapeutics, and Prescription Writing," Walter A. Bestedo, M.D., pp. 394-897, 1933 edition.

13. "Physiological Chemistry," Albert P. Mathews, Ph.D., pp. 310, 311.

14. "Alcohol-Its Action on the Human Organism," Medical Research Council, p. 28.

15. "Alcohol and Man," Haven Emerson, M.D., pp. 10, 11.

16. "Alcohol-Its Action on the Human Organism," Medical Research Council, p. 32.

17. "Alcohol and Human Life," C. C. Weeks, M.D., pp. 75, 81.

18. "Alcohol and Human Life," C. C. Weeks, M.D., p. 81.

19. "Alcohol and Human Life," C. C. Weeks, M. D., pp. 65, 59. 

20. "Alcohol, a Food, a Drug, a Poison" (leaflet), Haven Emerson, M.D., p. 2.

21. "Materia Medica," Walter A. Bastedo, M.D., pp. 394-397.

22. "Alcohol and Man," Haven Emerson, M.D., pp. 11, 12.

23. "The Truth About Alcohol as a Medicine" (pamphlet). J. H. Kellogg, M.D., p. 14.

24. "The Scientist Experiments With Alcohol," Williams & Stoddard, pp. 10-14.

25. "Alcohol and Man," Haven Emerson, M.D., p. 47.

26. "What About Alcohol?" Emil Bogen, M.D., p. 42.

27. "Effects of Alcoholic Drinks," Emma L. B. Tran­seau, p. 33.

28. "Alcohol and the Human Body," Horsley & Sturge, pp. 204-207.

29. "Effects of Alcoholic Drinks," Emma L. B. Transeau, p. 59.

30. "Narcotics and Youth Today," Robert E. Cor­radini, p. 84.

31. "Alcohol and Man," Haven Emerson, M.D., pp. 54, 55, 180.

32. "Alcohol and Man," Haven Emerson, M.D., pp. 186, 187.

33. The Great Destroyer" (pamphlet), J. H. Kel­logg, M.D., p. 5.

34. The Truth About Alcohol as a Medicine," J. H. Kellogg. M.D., pp. 4, 5.

35. "Alcohol and Human Life," C. C. Weeks, M.D., p. 69.

36. "Alcohol-Its Action on the Human Organism," Medical Research Council, p. 119.

37. "What About Alcohol P Emil Bogen, p. 34.

 38. Good Health, Dr. H. H. Mitchell, May, 1934, p. 11.

39. "Alcohol and Human Life," C. C. Weeks, M.D., pp. 75, 81.

40. "Alcohol and Human Life," C. C. Weeks, M.D., p. 81.

41. "Alcohol and Human Life," C. C. Weeks, 111.D., p. 81.

42. "Alcohol and Human Life," C, C. Weeks, M.D., p. 81.

43. "The Alcohol Question" (pamphlet), Prof. G. Von Bunge. p. 5.

44. "Physiological Chemistry," Albert P. Mathews, Ph.D., pp. 310, 311.

45. "Alcohol and Human Life," C. C. Weeks, M.D., p. 75.

46. "Alcohol and Human Life," C. C. Weeks, M.D., p. 75.

47. "Alcohol and Human Life," C. C. Weeks, M.D., p. 75.

48. "Alcohol and the Human Body," Horsley & Sturge, p. 183.

49. "Alcohol and Man," Haven Emerson, M.D., p. 100.

50. "Alcohol and the Human Body," Horsley & Sturge, p. 183.

51. "Alcohol and Man," Haven Emerson, M.D., p. 100.

52. "Effects of Alcoholic Drinks," Emma L. B. Transeau, p. 2.

53. "Effects of Alcoholic Drinks," Emma L. B. Transeau. p. 2.

54. "Materia Medica," Walter A. Bastedo, M.D., pp. 398, 399.

55. "Alcohol and Human Life," C. C. Weeks, p. 67.

56. "Alcohol, a Food, a Drug, a Poison" (leaflet), Haven Emerson, M.D., p. 2.

57. "What About Alcohol?" Emil Bogen, M.D., p. 36.

58.  Temperance Advocate, Toronto, Frank D. Slutz, January 25. 1935.

59. "Materia Medics.," Walter A. Bastedo, M.D., pp. 398, 399.

60. "Alcohol-Neither Food nor Medicine" (pam­phlet), W. A. Evans, M.D.

61. "What About Alcohol?' Emil Bogen, M.D., p. 19.

62. "Alcohol in Experience and Experiment," Cora Frances Stoddard, pp. 21, 22.

63. Narcotics and Youth Today," Robert E. Cor­radini, pp. 22. 24

64.  Christian Century, May 13, 1931, Prof. Samuel A. Mahood.

65. "Alcohol-Its Action on the Human Organism," Medical Research Council, pp. 119-121.

66. "Alcohol in Experiment and Experience," Cora Frances Stoddard, pp. 21, 22.

67. "Why the Craving for Alcohol ?" Dr. J. Glaig, Berlin, in ,ScientiiIc Temperance Journal, Summer, 1935.

68. "Materia Medica," Walter A. Bastedo, M.D., p. 381.

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By J. G. WHITE, Madison College, Tennessee

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