Thursday, August 13, 2009

The breakdown on Warm Drinks

this pic reminds me to remind you the importance of reducing waste by reusing or investing in a reusable water bottle. filters are cheaper, and better for the environment. plus you shouldn't have to pay for what we should be working to create more of on this planet anyway. but more about that soon. actually this post is about what's in that bottle.

understanding the effects of metabolic absorption both from personal experience and through research i thought i'd set the record straight, for your health, your nutrition, and so on. in order to best absorb nutrients and vitamins you have to move around. you muscles need to warm enough to expand and contract and create the friction needed to break down and absorb the nutrients in your body. This is why they advise that you warm up and do some cardio before you lift weights. It's why when you drink coffee in the morning it kicks in much faster than your midday diet coke that makes you want to crash at your desk. And it's why warm tequila shots are easily felt even though normally you can pour back a pitcher of frozen margaritas before you feel the effects (and here you thought it was because you and your girlfriend just split it, hence why when it finally kicks in you feel as if you've taken a sledge hammer to your cerebellum the next morning). this is also why i steer clear of caffeine and sugar to manage my own health problems and drink my vitamins and supplements in the morning with a room temperature glass of cranberry juice and follow it with breakfast and a glass of hot tea every morning. because frankly, cold cereal never quite cuts it the way a hot breakfast does. i learned this during finals week last fall and made it a point to make sure i had a hot breakfast before i went to math each morning. anyway, if you check the comments, there's a guy who actually broke down the caloric intake in Joules of energy versus kilocalories, which i found helpful, particularly as it validated a lot of the research on metabolic absorption rates that i had already read. here was my response to this posting.

phiG says:

wouldn't you want your muscle tissue to be warmer to expend calories instead of storing energy? from what i've read in research abstracts is that warmer muscles = relaxed muscles. And relaxed muscles have a much more permeable membrane to absorb nutrients, and the contractions flush waste through, hence how peristalsis works in the intestine to filter out food. I imagine that drinking colder water would slow down this metabolic process. You don't want to absorb water, you want to absorb nutrients in the water, and if they can't pass through the membrane of your intestine, then you're probably not getting the nutrients you'd need to be healthy. This probably explains why warm alcohol passes through the bloodstream faster and why when people throw back mixed drinks they think they can take down more than they can until BAM! they stand up and it hits them. There's probably a good reason that caffeine is so easily dispensed in warm beverages, and it might have more to do with the temperature of the drink than in the actual content. I'd be careful about telling people to drink cold water unless you can present evidence that supports your claim.

and here is some evidence that i found to support MY claim.

But just how much of a difference does eating before imbibing really make? According to several studies and experts on alcohol, a lot. Mostly it has to do with the way liquor is metabolized in the stomach and small intestine. Whenever a person consumes alcohol, the body starts to break it down immediately, but some is always absorbed into the bloodstream. Having food in the stomach, particularly proteins, fats, and dense carbohydrates slows down that absorption process. Things that speed it up are carbonated mixers, like soda (the gas in fizzy drinks increases the rate of absorption, (which is why champagne acts so quickly), and higher temperatures. Warm drinks are absorbed faster than cold ones.

Historical evidence is supported by the North American Brewer's Association's posting on Warm Beer

In beer’s previous 100 centuries of history there was no refrigeration, and anyone served a frigid beer would have assumed it was negligently left out in the cold. Warm was the only way to drink beer, and it was drunk that way from the beginning. At the dawn of civilization beer was served at ambient temperature, later it was cellared to barely cooled, and for several centuries in between, piping hot was the temperature of choice.

It was easy to find a hot beer; walking into any tavern from 1500 to the early 1800’s provided ample opportunity. Called "mulled", which meant heated, it was the fashion of the day, and drinkers lapped it up in staggering quantities. Not only did they prefer their beer hot, they were convinced it was good for them.

Mulled beer was considered an aid to healthy living. The brief text "Panala Alacatholica" dated 1623, (author unknown) was one of many sources that praised the virtues of warm beer, explaining that it "…doth by its succulencie much nourish and corroborate the Corporall, and comfort the Animall powers."

in all fairness, the evidence that cold drink ingestion improves exercise endurance capacity in heat is substantiated, as in this study here. but the reality is, unless you're a competitor who needs a high level of performance during competition, and you're supplementing it with proper absorption and cooling practices during training, i wouldn't recommend it. even those chumps who fuel with sugar and creatine to get them through their workouts would need to keep their water tepid in order to absorb the protein needed to build muscle mass, and those who fast would need to keep their water this way to break up lipids and toxins in order to do a nice metabolic cleansing. maybe flushing afterward with cold water wouldn't be too detrimental, but this is something that could really be accomplished by eating greens and natural fibers... thus providing more nutrients and antioxidants to attach to free radicals that might be left over from nutrient oxidation and reducing the risk of metabolically converting hormones into neurotoxins (ie like the ones that cause the symptoms of schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder, anxiety, and parkinsons.) i'm also posting a link about how to increase water absorption here. but i haven't tried all of these things or researched them to know if they're credible. let me know if something doesn't add up.

Come to think of it, perhaps this is why in the fall, when I crave hot cider with spices and cloves I just feel so much better, even with the intake of carcinogens. I chew my food slower and I just feel as if it's easier to restore to a state of peace, even when i have a jillion times more work to do. I'll have to take that into consideration. I had to switch over to hot tea this summer, because it is the only naturally flavored non-caffeinated, thing I could find to drink besides water that i could afford, and I just feel like a totally different person, even though my level of productivity seems to have increased. I move around more. I process more information at a faster rate. The Chinese may have been onto something. And here it was they thought that the secrets lie only in what was IN the tea. But perhaps it took people like the Japanese and the British to understand the significance of this ritual for this gift of bio-culinary technology to bestowed such an important principle unto the world.


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