According to Dr. Henry Monroe, food substances consumed by humans contain a combination of sugar, starch, oil, and glutinous matter in different proportions. These components serve the purpose of providing support to the body. Glutinous substances like fibrine, albumen, and casein help in building the body structure, while oil, starch, and sugar primarily generate heat within the body. In contrast, alcohol lacks nutritional value and has limited effectiveness as a remedy.
Certainly, if alcohol were considered a food, it would need to contain one or more of the substances mentioned. Food typically contains nitrogenous elements found in meats, eggs, milk, vegetables, and seeds, which contribute to building animal tissue and repairing waste. Alternatively, it could contain carbonaceous elements found in fat, starch, and sugar, which provide heat and energy when consumed. However, it’s important to note that alcohol does not possess significant amounts of these essential nutrients, making its classification as a food questionable.
Dr. Hunt emphasizes the distinctness of food groups and their clear relationship to the tissue-producing and heat-evolving capacities of the human body. This classification has been supported by experiments on animals and numerous scientific, physiological, and clinical tests, leaving no room for attempts to discard it. While there may be some interchangeability between these groups under specific circumstances or when there is a deficiency in one type of nutrient, it is untenable to completely disregard the established classification. This recognition of the food groups as reliable reference points remains valid and valuable.
The process of assimilation and the generation of force by these substances when they enter the body are well understood by chemists and physiologists. They can determine, based on established laws, whether alcohol has any food value. Over the years, experts in the medical profession have conducted thorough studies, tests, and experiments on alcohol, and the unanimous conclusion is that it does not belong to the category of tissue-building foods. There has been only one speculative suggestion, by writer Hammond, proposing that alcohol might somehow combine with decaying tissue products and, under certain circumstances, provide nitrogen for the construction of new tissues. However, this idea lacks support from organic and animal chemistry and cannot be considered a plausible hypothesis.
Dr. Richardson, Dr. W.B. Carpenter, Dr. Liebig, Dr. Hammond, Cameron, Dr. E. Smith, and Dr. T.K. Chambers, among others, all concur that alcohol lacks essential qualities of structure-building foods and cannot contribute to the true nutrition of the body. They assert that alcohol does not contain nitrogen or elements necessary for the composition of blood, muscular fiber, or vital organs. While some arguments have been made in favor of alcohol’s role in specific cases, there is no conclusive evidence that it can be converted into tissue or serve as nourishment for any part of the body. In light of these expert opinions, it is clear that alcohol cannot be considered a true food and should not be regarded as such.
Dr. Hunt points out that alcohol lacks tissue-making ingredients and does not break up combinations like cell foods do. Furthermore, there is no evidence from the experiences of physiologists or trials of alimentarians to suggest that alcohol possesses any constructive power. Given these observations, it is not surprising that alcohol does not offer any expectancy or realization of being a constructive agent in the body.
Having established that alcohol does not contain substances that can contribute to the construction or repair of the body, the next aspect to investigate is its ability to generate heat.
Production of heat
Dr. Hunt explains that a common test for foods that produce force is their ability to generate heat through the combination of oxygen. This heat is indicative of vital force and serves as a measure of the relative value of respiratory foods. When examining fats, starches, and sugars, it is possible to trace and evaluate the processes through which they produce heat and transform into vital force. The consumption of carbon through the union with oxygen is the underlying principle, resulting in heat production and the generation of force. The union of hydrogen with oxygen, on the other hand, produces water. If alcohol is considered in the same category as these foods, one would expect to observe some of the same evidence associated with hydrocarbons.
Experiments conducted by highly accomplished chemists and physiologists over extended periods of time have focused on determining the effects of alcohol in terms of heat production. Dr. H.R. Wood, Jr., in his Materia Medica, succinctly summarizes the result of these experiments: “No one has been able to detect in the blood any of the ordinary results of its oxidation.” This means that alcohol has not been observed to undergo combustion similar to that of fat, starch, or sugar, and therefore does not provide heat to the body through this process.
Alcohol and reduction of temperature
Arctic voyagers had already recognized the fact that alcohol diminishes their ability to withstand extreme cold even before physiologists confirmed its temperature-reducing effect. Edward Smith notes that in the Northern regions, it was proven that complete abstinence from spirits was necessary to retain heat under such adverse conditions. This underscores the understanding that alcohol impairs the body’s ability to regulate temperature in cold environments.
Alcohol does not make you strong
Dr. G. Budd highlights that every form of power generated by an animal, whether it is the mechanical power of muscles, the chemical power of the stomach, or the intellectual power of the brain, relies on the nourishment of the corresponding organ. Thus, strength and power in the body accumulate through organ-specific nutrition. Dr. F.R. Lees, after thorough analysis and examination of evidence, concludes that alcohol cannot be considered a strengthening food in any sense. This is because alcohol cannot become a part of the body, and therefore it cannot contribute to its cohesive or organic strength. Additionally, since alcohol is eliminated from the body unchanged, it cannot generate heat force through decomposition. In summary, alcohol lacks the ability to enhance strength or contribute to the body’s cohesive and energetic capabilities.
According to Sir Benjamin Brodie, stimulants do not generate or create nervous power. Instead, they provide a temporary boost by allowing you to exhaust the existing reserves of energy. However, once the effects of the stimulant wear off, you are left even more in need of rest than before. In other words, stimulants do not replenish or restore energy; they merely provide a temporary illusion of increased energy levels.
Baron Liebig, as early as 1843, highlighted the misconception that alcohol generates power. He explained that while the circulation may appear accelerated under the influence of alcohol, it does not result in a greater amount of mechanical force available for voluntary motion. In his later writings, he reiterated that wine (and by extension, alcohol) is unnecessary for humans and is consistently followed by a loss of power. The true purpose of food, according to Liebig, is to provide power. He further emphasized that these alcoholic drinks promote the internal metabolic processes in the body, leading to an inward loss of power that is not productive because it is not utilized in overcoming external challenges or performing meaningful work. In essence, Liebig argued that alcohol diverts the system’s power away from useful work in order to cleanse the body from the effects of alcohol itself.
Dr. W. Brinton, in his notable work on Dietetics, expresses the observation that a moderate dose of beer or wine tends to immediately reduce the maximum weight that a healthy person can lift. According to him, alcohol is detrimental to mental acuteness, accuracy of perception, and sensory sensitivity. Ingesting even a moderate amount of alcohol can impair the maximum capabilities of both the mind and body, preventing them from achieving their optimal performance. Brinton notes that even a single glass of alcohol can dull both mental and physical faculties, diminishing their capacity to perform at their best.
Dr. F.R. Lees, in his discussion on alcohol as a food, references an essay on “Stimulating Drinks” by Dr. H.R. Madden from as early as 1847. The quotation highlighted by Lees states that alcohol is not the natural stimulus for any of our organs. Consequently, the functions performed as a result of alcohol’s influence tend to weaken or debilitate the organs affected. In other words, the use of alcohol as a stimulant does not align with the natural functioning and stimulation of our bodily organs, leading to potential detrimental effects on their overall health and strength.
Correct, alcohol cannot be assimilated or converted into any organic proximate principle, and therefore it cannot be considered as providing any nutritional value. The body lacks the ability to utilize alcohol as a nutrient for building or maintaining its organic components.
That is correct. The perceived strength or energy boost experienced after consuming alcohol is not a result of new strength being added to the system. Rather, it is a manifestation of the stimulation of pre-existing nervous energy. Alcohol acts as a stimulant, temporarily activating the nervous system and giving the illusion of increased energy or strength. However, this effect is not sustainable or beneficial in the long term, as it does not actually enhance or replenish the body’s energy resources.
Indeed, the ultimate exhausting effects of alcohol can be attributed to its stimulant properties. While alcohol may initially produce a temporary stimulation, prolonged or excessive use can lead to detrimental consequences. One of these effects is an increased susceptibility to abnormal or morbid actions in various organs. Alcohol’s impact on the body can disrupt the natural balance and functioning of organs, which, combined with the potential for excessive alcohol consumption to cause a state of excessive fullness (plethora), can contribute to the development of various diseases. The disruption of normal physiological processes and the weakened state of the body can create an environment conducive to the onset of illness.
A person who regularly pushes themselves to the point where they rely on stimulants to prevent exhaustion can be likened to a machine operating under high pressure. Such individuals become more susceptible to factors that can cause illness or disease. The excessive strain and dependence on stimulants put additional stress on the body, increasing the risk of physical and mental breakdown. Compared to someone who maintains a healthier balance and does not rely on artificial means to sustain their energy levels, the person who constantly pushes themselves to the limit is more likely to experience a faster deterioration of their overall health and well-being.
It is true that the more frequently alcohol is relied upon to combat feelings of debility or fatigue, the greater the dependence on it becomes. Over time, the body can develop a tolerance to alcohol, requiring higher doses to achieve the desired effects. This can lead to a cycle of increasing consumption and dependence. Breaking this cycle may necessitate a complete change in lifestyle habits to initiate a process of recovery and allow the body to regain its natural balance. Without such changes, it can be challenging to forgo alcohol without experiencing adverse physical and psychological reactions.
Driven to the wall
While some advocates of alcohol have suggested that it may have the ability to delay the normal process of tissue breakdown, this theory is not widely supported in the medical community. The natural process of tissue metamorphosis, which involves the constant disintegration of old material to make room for new sustenance, is essential for maintaining life. Any disruption or impairment of this process can have harmful effects on the body.
When the elimination of waste substances is hindered or halted, these substances can accumulate in the blood or tissues, leading to toxicity. The accumulation of these toxins can have detrimental effects on vital functions, particularly on the nervous system. Symptoms such as irritability, sensory disturbances, delirium, loss of consciousness, and ultimately, death can occur.
It is important to note that alcohol does not play a beneficial role in this process of tissue metamorphosis or the elimination of waste substances. Rather, excessive or prolonged alcohol consumption can contribute to disruptions in normal bodily functions and increase the risk of toxicity and organ damage.
Dr. Hunt raises valid points regarding the claim that alcohol can be considered a food because it delays tissue breakdown. The normal processes of assimilation, nutrition, waste, and repair in the body should not be suspended or interfered with by the consumption of alcohol.
The argument that alcohol retards tissue destruction as a means of generating force, muscle contractions, cognitive function, and organ processes is flawed. Alcohol does indeed interfere with these processes rather than enhancing or supporting them. The precise mechanism by which alcohol achieves this interference is not well understood, and the idea that delaying tissue breakdown through alcohol consumption can lead to recuperation is questionable.
It is important to rely on well-established principles of nutrition and bodily functions when considering the effects of substances like alcohol on the body. The consensus among experts is that alcohol should not be regarded as a beneficial or necessary component of a healthy diet or as a means of supporting the body’s natural processes.
Not an originator of vital force
Dr. Hunt highlights the limitations and lack of scientific evidence supporting the idea that alcohol delays tissue breakdown and that such delay is beneficial for health. By categorizing alcohol as a food and attributing health benefits to its presumed delay of tissue breakdown, we enter the realm of speculation rather than scientific inquiry.
Since alcohol does not possess the characteristics of either nitrogenous or non-nitrogenous foods and does not exhibit the typical indications of food’s energy-giving properties, it is not scientifically valid to suggest that alcohol can benefit health by delaying tissue breakdown without providing substantial evidence and a clear explanation of the underlying mechanisms involved.
Moreover, it is well established that alcohol can negatively affect the natural processes of elimination in the body, which are vital for maintaining health, both in normal physiological conditions and in the context of diseases.
In summary, the claim that alcohol can be considered beneficial for health based on its supposed delay of tissue breakdown lacks scientific support and fails to consider the potential detrimental effects of alcohol on the body’s natural functions.