Sports Medicine
A Crucial Period
Good Pain, Bad Pain
On Your Knees
Secondary Injuries
Imaging Technology
What's Sciatica?
The Female Athlete
Putting Your Feet First
Itis Schmitis
Too Much, Too Soon
Under the Influence
What's Goin' On?
Think Inches, Not Pounds
Preventing Vaginitis
That Painful Pull
Athlete's Heart
Exercise & Arthritis
Chilled to the Bone
Measuring Body Fat
Exercise and Your Breasts
Choosing a Sports Doctor
Lean on Me (Shoulder)
Exercise & Anemia
Exercise Abuse
Pelvis Sighting
Hand Aid
It's All in the Wrist
Back in Action
Altitude Adjustment
Tennis Elbow, Anyone?
Exercising in the Heat
Agony of the Feet
Restless Legs
Night Time Cramps
Birth Control Concerns
No Periods, No Babies?
Post Partum Prescription
Weight Loss Mystery
Undesirable Cooldown
To Brew Or Not To Brew
Fitness After Baby
Biking and Back Pain
Swimmer's Shoulder
A Hidden Athlete
Avoiding Osteoporosis
Drug Testing
Maximum Heart Rate
Headway Against Headaches
Torn Rotator Cuff
Fat Figures
Bloody Urine
Sag Story
Lackluster Leg
Bothersome Bulge
Gaining in Years
Taking It On the Shin
Aching Ankles
Hoop Help
Tender Toes
Meals For Muscle
Growing Pains
Hot Tips
High Altitude PMS
Personal Bests
Air Pollution
Ankle Blues
Heartbreak Heel
Yeast Relief

Under the Influence

Alcohol Myths continued...

All of the calories in alcohol are "empty" calories; alcohol does not contain any appreciable amounts of vitamins or minerals, and it overloads the liver's metabolic pathways. The liver diverts calories into making fat, which is then stored in the liver before being carried away to permanent storage sites. Fat accumulates in the liver after a single night of heavy drinking.

Furthermore, alcohol is often mixed with high-calorie mixers and consumed along with snacks of high caloric density such as chips, dips and nuts. Frequent drinkers can add unwanted pounds easily. If you're drinking and dieting, its hard to stay within the calorie boundaries and still get proper nourishment.

2 Alcohol is a good source of B vitamins.
False. Alcoholic drinks contain only negligible amounts of vitamins. Eleven cans of beer will provide the daily allowance of B2 (riboflavin), which is better obtained from breads and cereals.

In fact, alcohol acts to displace vitamins from the body. First it causes intestinal cells to stop absorbing thiamin, folacin and B12. Liver cells lose their efficiency in activating vitamin D. Kidneys excrete an increased amount of magnesium, calcium, potassium and zinc, robbing your body of stores of these essential minerals.

3 Alcohol is a good fluid replacement.
False. Alcohol is a diuretic, a substance that causes greater loss of fluids (and minerals and electrolytes) than it contains. Alcohol decreases production of antidiuretic hormone (ADH), the brain hormone that regulates fluid balance.

This causes increased urination, water loss, dehydration and loss of essential minerals. Since you urinate more, drinking alcohol may make you think you are well hydrated. But it is a forced loss of fluid in greater amounts than you are drinking.

If you drink alcohol before or after exercise, be sure to also drink adequate amounts of a nonalcoholic, decaffeinated beverage to make up for the forced fluid loss.

4 A few drinks won't impair athletic performance.
False. The brain will not function as quickly nor the muscles as skillfully with alcohol on board. Many studies have shown that even a small amount of alcohol can impair psychomotor skills, reaction time, hand-eye coordination, visual tracking, arm steadiness, balance and alertness. The more you drink, the worse your performance will be.

Alcohol can accentuate exercise fatigue by increasing lactic acid production. It also dilates blood vessels and diverts circulation to the skin. In cold climates, this can impair thermoregulation and lead to increased risk of hypothermia. In hot climates, it can increase sweating and lead to further dehydration.

Consuming alcohol the night before an activity can hinder your performance by causing dehydration and loss of minerals and electrolytes. And a bad hangover can make even the simplest task seem monumental.

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About the authors: Carol L. Otis, M.D., is Chief Medical Advisor to the Sanex WTA and UCLA student health physician. Roger Goldingay is a former professional soccer player. They are married and the co-authors of The Athletic Woman's Survival Guide.

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Table of Contents

Foreword: Billie Jean King

Comments by Barb Harris
Editor in Chief,
Shape Magazine

General Health
Common Medical Problems
Dental Health
Infectious Disease
Sexual Health
Emotional Well-Being
Eating Disorders
Alcohol & Other Drugs
Environmental Health

The information in this web site is for educational purposes only and is not providing medical or professional advice. It should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease. It is not a substitute for professional medical care. If you have or suspect you might have any health problems, you should consult a physician.

Copyright 2000 - Sports Doctor, Inc.