How Much is Too Much
in itself is tasteless. It is the chemistry of congeners
that comes along for the ride in a bottle of booze, giving a drink its
colour, flavour and character. It stems from various sources like
aging of the liquor, fermentation or other sprit-making processes.
Vodka, for instance, comes closest to being simply alcohol mixed with
water and therefore has the least of congeners, followed by gin, which
uses herbs and spices to give the liquid its unique flavour.
Scotch has four times as many of these chemicals as gin, brandy, rum
and malts have about six times as many. Tiny amounts of alcohol are
produced by bacteria in our body all the time. When alcohol enters our
gullet, it reacts with an enzyme in the stomach and liver that
converts the alcohol to acetaldehyde. While alcohol makes you drunk,
the accumulation of acetaldehyde gives you a hangover. Your body can
burn off about a half ounce of pure alcohol (about the amount in a
single dose) in an hour.
It is simple mathematics that demonstrates that a 12 ounce beer
(which is 5% alcohol) contains about a half ounce of alcohol; the same
is true for a five ounce glass of wine (which is 12% alcohol) or a one
and a half ounce shot of 80 proof whisky (which is 40% alcohol). About
20-30% of the alcohol is absorbed into the blood through the stomach
and small intestine.
The alcohol in our bloodstream travels to various parts of the body.
When it reaches the brain it replaces water molecules and thus slows
down brain efficiency. Overdose of alcohol shuts down the central
nervous system to the point where our brain stops sending out signals
reminding you to breathe!!
One starts feeling hungry when alcohol breaks down our bodys
molecular energy stores and one feels an urge to urinate more
frequently because it shuts down production of hormone that helps our
body reabsorb water.
Finally, it is quantity, not quality, that results in a hangover.
Congeners merely enhance the pain, but the real culprit is alcohol and
its chemical reaction. All alcoholic drinks are high in calories and
dismally low in protein. Despite centuries of claims to the contrary,
there is no cure for the whisky blues. The Germans eat bananas with
red meat for breakfast, the Chinese drink tea brewed from spinach. The
Swiss suck a can of oxygen while the Russians recommend more of
Remember that there is no such things as a bad drink, just bad
drinkers. Studies suggest that a little bit of drinking - one or two
pegs a day - might be beneficial to your health. It possibly reduces
the incidence of heart disease and further, moderate drinkers rarely
Coffee, the worlds most popular drink, gets the kick from
caffeine that occurs naturally in some 60 types of plants - coffee,
tea and cocoa are the best known. Caffeine is blamed for many health
problems ranging from addiction and heart disease to low birth weight
in babies. A person who drinks five or more cups of coffee daily often
faces the risk of getting a heart disease.
Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system and affects chemical
messengers in the brain called neurotransmitters. Consequently, it
makes you feel more alert and enhances concentration and performance.
It also speeds up your metabolism, making you burn more calories, but
the increase is so small it wont make you lose weight. Excess
caffeine (more than 5/6 cups or 12 cans of cola) can cause shakiness
and it is best advised to remain within the four cup limit. John
Hopkin Medical School in Washington advises limiting coffee to not
more than two cups per day.
Caffeine has been held responsible for raising both cholesterol and
blood pressure. Other studies hold it responsible for breast cancer
and miscarriage. Caffeine is further believed to increase the rate at
which our bodies get rid of calcium and it was thought that it could
increase the risk of bone shrinkage. However, the Scottish Heart
Health Study discounts any link between coffee, caffeine and heart
Changing to decaffeinated coffee does not automatically solve the
problems linked with coffee. It should be ensured that decaffeination
has been achieved by the process of water extraction because when
chemicals are used in the process of solvent extraction, some residues
of chemicals are left behind.
There are a number of reasons why healthy exercises cross the line
into unhealthy behaviour. often the goal is to lose weight, while
others may be inclined to think that if moderate exercise is so
obviously good for your body, then heavy exercise must be twice as
However, the fact remains that even if you dont feel it
immediately, repeated stress and prolonged repetitive movements
without rest are sure to result in injury to your muscles, ligaments,
tendons and joints, and this will only worsen with repeated activity.
Moderate, balanced and regular exercise, such as brisk walking,
provides numerous benefits including higher energy levels, lower risk
of ischemic stroke, toning up of body and improved posture. It can
help to lower the risk of heart disease, build a strong immune system
and increase bone density. It is also a valuable way of distressing
after a hard days work.
The problem is that too much exercise will have the opposite effect.
A minimum of 20 minutes exercise, three times a week (this is a
minimum) is ideal. often people undertake exercise to achieve healthy
benefits with the aim of enjoying life more, but an obsessive exercise
routine leaves no time for relaxation or rewards.
Long distance runners who log 60 miles a week are more likely to
suffer from degenerative hip diseases compared to other fit athletes
who just run seven miles a week.
In most of the exercise programmes rocovery is the
missing element where people train and train but overlook the idea
that resting and recovering is what makes people fitter. What is
considered to be "too much" exercise will vary from person
to person. If you are not sure you may contact a professional trainer
to help devise a fitness programme to suit your fitness level.
Fibre rich foods are welcome for our digestive system but
unfortunately some people follow the maxim that if little is good, a
lot will be much better. It is hard to overdose on dietary fibre,
since youd tend to start feeling very full before you achieve
the danger zone. Possibly six bowls of fibre rich cereal in one
sitting will be enough to demonstrate the bad stomach ache from all
those fermented carbohydrates in your gut.
Even fibre rich medications used in weight loss have been reported to
swell up before they reach the stomach, causing a blockage. Dietary
fibre is essential to ward off constipation but all precaution is
required while prescribing concentrated fibre.
Loud noise including music wears down the delicate hair cells in the
inner ear that translate sound into nerve impulses. The amount of
damage and whether it is permanent or temporary depends on the
loudness and duration of exposure.
Sitting in front of a wall of amplifiers at a rock concert for two
hours is enough to do some permanent damage to your hearing. One
warning sign that youre being exposed to noise that is too loud
is a ringing tone in your ear. Your ears are trying to tell you that
theyve been bruised. The longer or more intense the exposure ,
the longer the ear rings after the noise concludes. Another indication
is the fullness in the ears after excessive noise exposure.
Millions of lives could be saved it we ate less salt because there
would be fewer heart attacks and strokes. This was the finding of
specialists at St. Bartholomews Hospital in London after they
analysed data from 78 studies involving 47,000 people around the
Salt in our daily life comes from various sources. It comes naturally
in a good number of foods like meat, fruits, vegetables and dairy
products. Food manufacturers add salt to most canned and bottled
The specialists say that if people over 50 were to cut their intake
of salt by three grams a day - thats about half a teaspoon -
heart disease would be reduced by a sixth and strokes by a fifth. Our
body requires 500 milligrams of salt (one sixth of a teaspoon).
Although some people may swear they cant enjoy a meal unless
theyve reached for the salt first, it doesnt take long to
get used to food without it. You wont find many simpler ways of
improving your chances of staying healthy so it makes sense to cut
most common beliefs, the sort of things we encounter in medical books,
are that we need to sleep for eight, that it is harmful to our health
to go without sleep and that we need sleep to restore our bodies. Not
so, suggests Dr Jim Horne from Loughborough University.
The body needs only six hours sleep and it doesnt become
ill if we have even less. Food and rest are far more important to it
than sleep. However, sleeping for more than ten hours every night may
shorten your life. Mortality rates for long sleepers were around two
times greater than the rate for people who slept 7 to 8 hours.
Cases of death during sex have been reported but they are very few
and far between. Something not to worry about. The sex wrecks
you attitude existed in the ancient folklores of India, China
etc and even Victorian physicians subscribed to this hypothesis.
Players and athletes believe that sex drains them and their output in
the field is greatly diminished.
During the 1982 World Cup Peru lost to Poland and the reason
attributed was sex before the game. However, sex is treated
differently by individuals. For some it enhances their performance and
they climb to snatch the top prize while for others it lets them down
to the drains of defeat. A number of world class runners, sportsmen
and other players have walked off successfully in their respective
sports after sexual indulgence.
There are even legends attached to sportsmen performing sex between
the game. A male marathon runner at the New York Road Runners Club is
said to have quit halfway through the race, entered a motel with his
girlfriend, had sex and then finished the marathon.
Sex is possibly the ideal anti-anxiety drug and the benefits are
tremendous. A study at the University of Rome claims that around 100
calories per hour go up in an average sexual intercourse. Ejaculation
in itself is more demanding and can be ticked at 400 calories per
hour, but since the largest ejaculation on record is 15 seconds, you
can count on losing not more than a calorie or two there.
There isnt the only reason we adore sweets. When experiencing
sweetness, the body releases endorphins, which are natural feel
good chemicals. But it is easy to confuse a craving for sugar
with a yen for fat. If youre in the mood for jelly, you probably
want sugar. If youre dying for chocolate, you may want fat too.
According to one report, a sugar-fat combination increases the level
of several brain chemicals, including serotonin, which is associated
Many people report that high sugar intake causes children to climb
the wall. A few pediatricians do agree but they are not
supported by well-controlled studies. The American Food and Drug
Administration believes that sugar does not cause high blood pressure,
heart disease, cancer or malnutrition. New studies have even cleared
sugar as the culprit behind hyperactivity in children.
Eating too much sugar may lead to obesity. Excess sugar is also
reported to stiffen collagen and therefore less sugar might help slow
aging in people of normal weight. Although each gram of sugar contains
only 4 calories (compared to 9 for fat), people are consuming huge
amounts of sweeteners in the form of cakes and cookies. Sugars and
starches, known scientifically as simple and complex carbohydrates,
may trigger weight gain in people with a condition called insulin
resistance. All obese individuals and as many as 25 per cent of the
rest of the population would be affected. Certain people produce too
much insulin after eating sugar or starch. Insulin breaks down
carbohydrates and stores them as fat; overproducing insulin may lead
If you think honey, maple or corn syrup are healthy alternatives to
sugar, think again. These stand-ins contain only trace amounts of
vitamins and minerals. Molasses deliver slightly more calcium, iron,
and B vitamins.
If you are healthy, eating well, exercising and dont have any
weight problem, its okay to enjoy sugar and starches. But it you
are overweight, you need to watch your calorie intake, stay active and
take it easy on fat free cake.
Until yesterday we were supposed to keep out of the sun but as more
and more scientific data are pouring in we need to befriend the sun.
After all, nothing will grow without the sun, even people are reported
to become depressed and moody and many get vitaminosis (lack of
vitamins essential to health). The sun is needed to stimulate vitamin
D production in the skin, which in turn influences calcium metabolism
and so on.
Most present day cosmetics make us look younger and are set to erase
our wrinkles. Most wrinkles are a result of damage caused by free
radicals, unstable chemicals that form when the skin is exposed to sun
or pollution. They are sensitizing our skin to the point where we are
supposed to keep out of the sun. However, the sun turns on our
metabolism as well. Establish your relationship with the sun but
simply dont over do it.
Prefer the early morning hours when the air still possesses the touch
of freshness and is sprinkled with negative ions. Avoid the hot noon
sun when the rays are shorter and hotter. A minimum of 20 minutes
direct exposure to the sun daily is recommended by doctors.
Applying suntan lotion is no protection from sun exposure. One can
get sun burned through clothing. Loosely woven fabrics offer minimal
protection while tight denims and canvas are ideal defence. Sunburn
can be further aggravated by certain drugs and medications like
tetracycline, antibiotics, tranquilizers and diuretics. Sun damage is
responsible for most of what we think of as aging. Skin damage builds
up invisibly for years before you actually see it.
The eyes are most vulnerable to sun damage. The skin on your eyelids
is subject to skin cancer. Unprotected eyes lose up to 50 per cent of
their night vision after a day spent in the sun. This is especially
true if youve been on the water or snow. Studies have shown that
long-term exposure to the ultraviolet rays of the sun can harm the
nose cartilage and in some cases make the tip droop.
in vitamins, food supplements and minerals is recording an all time
high. People are taking mega doses of vitamins. It all started when
Nobel Laureate Dr Lingus Pauling established that vitamin C prevented
cold. It is believed that water soluble vitamins are not stored in
your body and they may do some good. We have been told that the only
two reasons for taking vitamins are if you are not eating well and you
know you need supplements, and pregnancy. But how a third reason has
surfaced; vitamins are claiming to produce better job performance,
better sex lives, less hair loss, glowing skin and weight loss. and
who would not like to get them all in a pill?
The late Lingus Pauling advised taking 3,200 milligrams of VitaminC a
day or more to ward off everything from cancer to heart disease. Yet
the experts recommend that a daily intake of just 60 mg a day (the
amount in four ounces of orange juice) will keep one healthy. However,
biochemists from the National Institute of Health suggest the intake
of 200 mg a day. Higher doses are simply excreted through the urine.
Excess vitamin A or their concentration (50,000 international units)
can certainly kill humans. When the Arctic explorers killed polar
bears and consumed their livers they developed the same symptoms as
these animals that live on fish and have a concentrate of vitamin A.
Water is one of those things that weve come to take for
granted. It is only when we find a dry tap that we realise just how
precious it is. We all know that water is not only safe but essential,
yet pure water kills if 10 litres are consumed in one go. A normal man
needs six to eight glasses a day. If we drink ten times the required
average in a day, it could potentially overwhelm the kidneys
ability to excrete the liquid, resulting in intoxication. Symptoms
include nausea, light-headedness and even seizures. It can also prove
fatal in extreme cases.
Thanks to the poor quality of water supplied by the municipalities of
most towns and cities, the demand for bottled mineral water has gone
up quite considerably in recent years. But how safe is this water ?
What is the guarantee that after paying so much, the consumer is
really getting potable mineral water?
Food sold in the market is duly monitored by the Prevention of
Food Adulteration Act, but water is not considered a food and
therefore does not come under the ambit of the PFAA. In fact the very
name "mineral water" was originally given to water obtained
from a natural spring, as the water had a high mineral content.
Today, it is municipal water which is bottled after blending it with
minerals. It is important to set the maximum limits for minerals
because even though these minerals are essential for the human body,
they can have an adverse effect if consumed beyond a certain limit.
So stay within limits with even the good things in life.