Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 78.djvu/392

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scientific order, and has stated that the sooner scientific order and method are introduced the better.

Alcohol is frequently used as a flavor for food. Pure alcohol itself is never taken, but the various alcoholic beverages are prized on account of their various flavors. There is no more powerful stimulant to the flow of the gastric juice than alcohol. Introduced directly into the small intestine or even into the rectum, alcohol may produce a flow of gastric juice. However, it has been shown that a single glass of wine containing between five and ten per cent, of alcohol is as effective as a stomachic as when much larger quantities are ingested. Indeed there can be no doubt that the healthy stomach needs no such stomachic whatever. This is known, because the materials of which ordinary food consists are perfectly digested and perfectly absorbed without recourse to anything beyond the ordinary flavors of the table.

In cases where there is no appetite, it may be that a single glass of wine may help the digestion of food. So Pawlow describes that when he was convalescent from a fever and could digest nothing, a glass of sherry brought about an initial flow of his gastric juice and with its aid digestion of the food was possible. It is stated that the value of a liqueur which is taken with after-dinner coffee, lies merely in its irritant action upon the wall of the stomach—an action which promotes a discharge of material from the probably too well-filled stomach of the individual who has been dining.

Alcohol is also a nutrient material. The publication by Atwater and Benedict showing that alcohol could replace other foodstuffs in nutrition, led Mr. Dooley to remark that his saloon was really a restaurant. In normal nutrition the cells of the body are provided with fuel by fat or by sugar. When protein is given, most of it is converted into fat or into sugar within the organism. So, in the ultimate analysis, it is found that the motions of the cells, which motions constitute life, are maintained at the expense of fat and carbohydrates. When these are oxidized, energy is liberated which impels to motion the particles of protoplasm, and these motions constitute the machinery of life.

Atwater and Benedict gave a man ordinary food for thirteen days. The food contained 2,496 calories, and the man destroyed materials within himself, so that he daily produced 2,221 calories. On this diet, he retained within his body 33.7 grams of fat daily. Then the same man was given a diet for ten days which had the same number of calories as before, but only 1,996 of these were in the ordinary food materials, whereas 600 calories were in alcohol. This quantity of alcohol is what would be found in a bottle of claret. The alcohol was given in six small doses daily. The alcohol was almost completely burned, only a small quantity appearing in the urine and breath. The heat production during this second period, amounted to 2,221 calories daily