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Liver Habits Score

Liver fat and the Mediterranean Diet

Changing your dietary habits so you can enjoy alcohol with less risk.

Brooks Powell

December 30, 2020

KEY TAKEAWAYS

“Blue Zones” are regions of the world where, it is claimed, a higher than usual number people live much longer than average. The term first appeared on a National Geographic magazine cover story called “The Secrets of a Long Life”. In total, there are 5 regions that classify as blue zones, which is typically designated by a large percentage of people that become “centenarians”—that is, people who live to be 100+ years old.

“It’s reported that residents of these places produce a high rate of centenarians, suffer a fraction of the diseases that commonly kill people in other parts of the developed world, and enjoy more years of good health.” (cite)

That is, not only do a portion of the people live to be 100+, but the general populace of the region go in total to enjoy longer, healthier, and happier lives.

At Cheers, this is core to why we exist, except through the particular lens of alcohol and liver-related health. Our mission & vision statements are as follows:

Mission (what we do each day): “Bringing people together by promoting fun, responsible, and health-conscious alcohol consumption.”

Vision (our long term goal): “A world where everyone can enjoy alcohol throughout a long, healthy, and happy life.”

Core to our belief is that when used properly, alcohol can not only be part of a long, healthy, and happy life, but may even enhance it. Alcohol serves a bonafide beneficial purpose to humanity through its chemical abilities to reduce barriers and bring people together.

Alcohol isn’t without imperfections, such as disease, drunken mistakes, hangovers, etc. However, to get rid of alcohol just because of some of its risks is the throw the baby out with the bath water. Instead, at Cheers, our goal is to reduce the risks and negative effects of alcohol (it’s downsides) while allowing for its beneficial effects to be enjoyed (it’s upsides). It’s quite simple: reduce the bad of alcohol; but promote the good of alcohol.

One thing that’s so interesting about studying Blue Zones is that in all cases except for one, regular alcohol consumption is part of the lifestyle. Of the 5 original blue zones, 4 of them drink (one abstains for religious reasons), and 2 of them are based in the Mediterranean. As we will discuss, all of the blue zones contain a number of dietary similarities.

One thing that’s clear from studying blue zones is that alcohol consumption and a long life are not inherently at odds with one another if you’re smart about it.

In this article we will primarily be discussing the Mediterranean Diet (MD). Why? Because it is the most studied diet in the world in regards to academic research—especially in relation to liver health. While it may not be inherently better than the diet of those in Okinawa (Japan) or Nicoya (Costa Rica), they share similarities, and the research around diet and liver health is focused on the MD, therefore that’s where we will spend our focus.

If you’re looking to understand the dietary practices that will set you up for long-term liver health, then you’ve found the right article.

The problems of the Standard American Diet / Western Diet

If you’ve never heard of the “Western Diet”, then it’s pretty simple… it’s what you likely eat. Even if it’s not what you personally eat, it’s what most Americans eat.

One of the simplest ways to look at a diet is to see what it maximally consists of and what it minimally consists of. That is, what is typically has more of and what it typically has less of.

The Western Diet is often defined as a modern dietary pattern that is generally characterized by high intakes of red meat, processed meat, pre-packaged foods, butter, candy and sweets, fried foods, conventionally-raised animal products, high-fat dairy products, eggs, refined grains, potatoes, corn (and high-fructose corn syrup) and high-sugar drinks, and low intakes of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, grass-fed animal products, fish, nuts, and seeds.

When looking at the primary source of calories in the Western Diet, you can basically look to 2 places: fast food and packaged goods. In fact, more than half of the average American diet comes from “ultra-processed foods”.

The fast food looks something like this:


And the packaged goods look something like this:


For the sake of brevity in this article, we won’t focus on the “why” the Western Diet is so bad. That is, we won’t focus on the mechanisms by which it causes obesity and disease. However, if you’re looking for a quick glimpse into this, you can read our article on sugar and liver health.

Instead, to prove our point, we’ll simply show you the affects of the Western Diet over time.

As far as fast food’s rise in popularity goes, we can simply look at their founding date. McDonald’s was founded in 1955. Burger King was founded in 1954. KFC was founded in 1952. Chick-fil-A was founded in 1946. Wendy’s was founded in 1969. Taco Bell was founded in 1962.

You can also look at American sugar consumption by each two decades:


If you look at the obesity of American’s chart, you may notice that the % of “overweight” people is trending downwards. Why? Because more and more people are transitioning from “overweight” to “obese” and “extremely obese”.

Not only is the standard American’s diet making them fat… it’s making them sick across a number of diseases. Heart disease, diabetes, cancer, etc. is all on the rise in tandem with obesity. However, in as much as we are concerned with alcohol and liver-related health, let’s look at its impact on liver disease.

As we have explained in another article, all chronic liver disease starts with liver fat. In other words, if you’re looking to avoid liver disease, you should work to reduce liver fat as your primary concern.

One thing is very clear. The Standard American Diet (or Western Diet) has failed us in regards to liver health.

If our diet is currently hurting our liver, what can we do to protect and heal our livers? Drinkers experience a greater tax on our livers because of the alcohol. Therefore, besides drinking less and with a reduced frequency, one of the things that drinkers must do is work on other areas of their life to boost their liver health, such as reducing sugar consumption, exercising more, and eating better. Therefore, let’s start discussing how to eat better.


Enter the Mediterranean Diet

differences from American diet

more fat/oil

less processed food, simple carbs, and sugar

LOTS of fiber, vegetables, etc.




References

About Cheers

Cheers is the leading alcohol-related health brand focused on developing products that support your liver and help you feel great the next day. As a student at Princeton, Cheers’ founder Brooks Powell discovered the potential advantage of incorporating the natural plant extract Dihydromyricetin (DHM) into an after-alcohol consumption regimen and began working with his professors to make products that addressed the unique challenges of alcohol-related health. . Since its official launch in 2017, Cheers has sold more than 13 million doses  to over 300 thousand customers. The research-backed line of products includes three versions of supplemental pills and powders – Restore, Hydrate and Protect. Cheers is now releasing read-to-drink versions of their products—starting with Cheers Restore. Each product is equipped to meet different health needs such as rehydration, liver support, and acetaldehyde exposure. Cheers places an equal emphasis on the responsibility and health aspects of its mission and vision. The brand’s mission is bringing people together by promoting fun, responsible, and health-conscious alcohol consumption. The vision is a world where everyone can enjoy alcohol throughout a long, healthy, and happy lifetime. For more information, visit cheershealth.com or join the social conversation at @cheershealth.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.