We all seek it but ‘What Is Health?’ My perspective in the @IrishTimes @Paddy_Barrett @brc_clinic

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Paddy Barrett



We all seek it but ‘What Is Health?’ My perspective in the @IrishTimes

Alcohol heightens the risk of dehydration @ClevelandClinic

Cleveland Clinic


What to know before grabbing an ice-cold beer to beat the heat:

It’s a warm summer day and you’re hanging out with friends and family for the first time in over a year, celebrating being vaccinated and just being together. And to help beat the heat, you reach in the cooler for an ice-cold beer.

While that might be refreshing at the moment, though, there’s good reason to grab some water, too. The heat of summer can be brutal, sometimes, and its effects are amplified when you’ve had a little too much alcohol.

To better understand the risks you face when drinking alcohol during this hot vaccine summer, we spoke with registered dietitian Julia Zumpano, RD.

The biggest danger: dehydration

Whenever you’re outside in the heat for prolonged periods – like at the beach or picnic – you’re at risk of dehydration. Consuming alcohol only heightens that risk.

Alcohol reduces the release of the hormone vasopressin, which keeps your body fluids balanced. At the same time, alcohol is also a diuretic which means more urinating and that can lead to dehydration even without the heat. Add in all that sweat from the hot sun and it’s a recipe for dehydration disaster.

One thing Zumprano points out, too, is that caffeine – whether via coffee, soda or as a mixer for liquor – heightens that dehydration risk even further.

Dehydration can also compound certain aspects of intoxication, she notes. “Altered thinking, altered abilities to drive and make reasonable decisions or even just to have conversations are all things that intoxication can cause.”

Liquor versus beer: Is one worse than the other in the heat?

Given that alcohol content is usually higher in spirits than in your average beer, it makes sense that drinking beer instead of mixed drinks might help you avoid dehydration. But the reality is a little more complex, according to Zumpano.

“If you’re consuming liquor at a volume equivalent to the volume of beer, like 12 ounces of margaritas compared to 12 ounces of an average beer, you will get drunk a lot quicker,” she says. “But if you’re drinking what’s considered an alcoholic drink equivalent, there’s not much of a difference because your alcohol intake is the same.”

According to the National Institute of Health, one alcoholic drink equivalent, also referred to as a “standard drink,” contains around 14 grams of pure alcohol. By those measurements, an average 12-ounce can of beer contains the same amount of alcohol as a 5-ounce glass of wine or a typical shot of distilled spirits like rum, vodka, gin or whiskey.

One thing to keep an eye on, though, is the alcoholic content of your beer. While major brands generally run between 4% and 5% alcohol per 12-ounce can or bottle, certain styles of craft beer are as much as 9% alcohol per the same volume. In other words, one can of your favorite local IPA delivers almost twice the amount of alcohol to your system. 

Beware a false sense of hydration

Another mistake you should avoid, Zumpano says, is thinking that drinking all that liquid rehydrates you. “If you’re drinking a lot of beer or alcoholic seltzer, it can feel like you’re drinking a lot of liquid and staying hydrated, but the alcohol offsets that because it’s the dehydrating factor,” she points out.

Not that drinking mixed drinks is any better, according to Zumpano. “If you’re drinking a sugary, sweet mixed drink, you run into the same thing. It feels like you’re staying hydrated because they go down so much smoother than drinking spirits on the rocks. But it’s the same effect as with beer: The alcohol is still dehydrating you unless you’re also drinking enough water.”

Sugar, the hidden villain

All of these drinks have other adverse health effects, too. They can pack a bunch of calories into a single serving – as many as 400 to 500 calories in some mixed drinks and craft beers – and they can come loaded with carbs.

There’s more, though. “If you’re drinking high sugar, high caloric intake beverages and you’re drinking a lot of them, they can be very filling,” Zumpano says. If you’re feeling full, you might not eat any food which can otherwise help absorb some of the alcohol.

How to counter dehydration: water, water, water

So what can you do to avoid dehydration troubles when you’re sipping your favorite boozy beverage by the pool? “To counteract the dehydration risk of alcohol,” Zumpano says, “drink 8 to 12 ounces of water for every alcoholic drink. It slows your intake, keeps you hydrated and can mitigate negative hangover effects.”

She suggests keeping a reusable water bottle with you that you can refill as the day goes on, taking time to drink the necessary water between beers or margaritas. Another option is to buy a pack of 8-ounce bottles of water and alternate with your booze. And you can always infuse your water with fruit to keep it flavorful.

“It’s also important to know what your trigger for over-consumption is,” she adds. “If you’re triggered by over-consuming beer or alcoholic seltzer, you want to be mindful of that. Try to switch a drink you have better control of and keep the water bottle handy.”

New Study: No Level of Alcohol — Even Casual Drinking — Is Entirely Safe @ClevelandClinic

Cleveland Clinic


Even casual drinking can put your long-term health at risk. Our liver specialist explains the findings of this study.

New Study: No Level of Alcohol — Even Casual Drinking — Is Entirely Safe

Leading cause of death of those age 15-49

Stopping for happy hour with colleagues after work. Cracking open a cold beer (or two) while watching the game. Meeting up with girlfriends for a glass of pinot noir. Having an alcoholic beverage of choice is a common way to unwind. But according to a recent study, even casual drinking can put your long-term health at risk.

Liver specialist Jamile Wakim-Fleming, MD, did not take part in the study, but says the research found that alcohol was a leading risk factor for both disease and premature death.

“They found that alcohol was the seventh leading cause of death worldwide,” she says. “But even more alarming, is that it was the first leading cause of death of people between the ages of 15-49.”

What the study examined

The study looked at global data from hundreds of previous studies and found that for all ages, alcohol was associated with 2.8 million deaths each year.

Researchers found that alcohol-related cancer and heart disease, infectious diseases, intentional injury, traffic accidents and accidental injury were some of the leading causes of alcohol-related deaths.

But isn’t alcohol good for your heart?

Dr. Wakim-Fleming says people often believe that a little bit of alcohol, wine in particular, may be good for their heart. But the study results didn’t show any health benefit to drinking any amount of alcohol.

She says this information, along with previous research that has shown more young people are dying from alcohol-related liver disease, indicates that excessive drinking among young adults is a growing problem.

The damage grows over time

And like any substance-abuse problem, Dr. Wakim-Fleming says the damage to the body from alcohol increases over your lifespan.

“It’s a cumulative effect,” she explains. “If you do it all at once, then you’re going to have the effect now. If you drink on a regular basis, over years it’s going to be cumulative and you will end up with a problem later on.”

Dr. Wakim-Fleming notes that anything we do in life involves risk, but it’s important to know what the risks are so that we can make the best decisions for our health.

Complete results of the study can be found in The Lancet. Facebook Twitter Linkedin Pinterest alcoholalcohol and healthalcohol-related liver disease

This fresh English Pea Pasta recipe is loaded with healthful pea protein and flavored with garlic, mint and grated Parmigiano Reggiano.@ClevelandClinic

There is something special about using fresh peas straight out of the pod. This recipe was inspired by our root-to-stem philosophy of cooking: It always seems like such a waste to throw away the pea pods, but they are relatively inedible. To make use of the pods, we’ve pureed them into a spring-fresh pasta sauce. Remember: Pasta for breakfast is a great choice, especially when it’s loaded with healthful pea protein.


Kosher salt
1 pound fresh English peas in pods (yields about 1 cup shelled peas and about 3 ½ cups pods)
½ cup water
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 small spring onions or 2 large shallots, chopped
2 small spring garlic (whites) or 3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons Greek yogurt (optional)
12 ounces whole grain pasta, such as linguine, rigatoni or small shells
Freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup fresh mint (peppermint preferred), thinly sliced
Espelette pepper to taste (optional)
Grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (optional)


  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil and add enough salt to make it salty like the sea.
  2. Meanwhile, wash the peas. Pull off the stem ends: remove the peas and place in a small bowl. Reserve the pods.
  3. Fill a bowl with cold water. Set aside. Add the empty pea pods to the pot of boiling water and cook for 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon or spider, remove the pods from the boiling water and transfer to the bowl of cold water to cool quickly. Drain the pea pods and add to a Vitamix or high-speed blender. Add ½ cup water. Puree for 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Place a fine strainer over a bowl and add the pea pod puree to the strainer, pressing on the solids to release as much puree as possible into the bowl. Discard the solids in the strainer. Reserve the puree in the bowl; season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Cook the pasta in the pot of boiling water until al dente, stirring occasionally.
  6. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the peas and cook 2 minutes. Stir in the reserved pea pod puree and Greek yogurt, if using, and cook just until heated through. (Don’t overcook the peas or puree as the sauce will turn brown).
  7. Using tongs or a spider, transfer the pasta to the sauce in the skillet. Toss until combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer the pasta to the serving bowl. Add the basil and mint. Serve with Espelette pepper and grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, if using.

Nutritional info (per serving)

Makes 4 servings.

Calories: 554 kcal
Total fiber: 12 g
Soluble fiber: 0.1 g
Protein: 15.5 g
Total fat: 16.7 g
Saturated fat: 2.0 g
Healthy fats: 12.1 g
Carbohydrates: 84 g
Sugars: 7.7 g
Added sugars: 0 g
Sodium: 178 mg
Potassium: 433 mg
Magnesium: 14 mg
Calcium: 134 mg

Source: The What to Eat When Cookbook by Michael F. Roizen, MD, Michael Crupain, MD, MPH and Jim Perko, Sr, CEC, AAC.