Throughout media you see advertisements everywhere: games, food, travel, shows, and alcohol. I’ve noticed alcohol commercials are prevalent throughout media. There’s so many of them. Recently, in alcohol ads, I’ve been seeing the company Michalob Ultra target athletes. The commercials of Michalob Ultra are probably the most commercials shown out of beer ads on the stations I watch, and being from a family with alcoholics it bugs me. Through their commercials they show people working out, from lifting weights to running. They’ve even connected in commercials where a swimmer will be swimming and below them alcohol. A girl will be punching a punching bag and a shot of alcohol will come out. Just the fact there are so many alcohol ads bugs me, one after another, but then to see them targeting athletes, and be overly advertised in sporting events; I don’t think it’s right. Alcohol companies should not be allowed to advertise to athletes, and alcohol should not sponsor sports. I’m going to go into how alcohol affects an athletes body to show that alcohol companies, no matter how low calorie, should not go after athletes. I will also show sides to it like the money it brings in, how addictive alcohol is, and what some people are doing about it.

Alcohol can affect your muscle growth, and recovery. “Long-term alcohol diminishes protein synthesis, resulting in decrease in muscle growth.” (Insidetracker) It can lower protein synthesis by 20%. It does this by dehydrating your cells, and it blocks important nutrients that are key to what your muscles do. There was even a study done by the University of North Texas. “The study followed 10 men and nine women, all physically active. All of the participants did six sets of 10 squats with heavy weight twice a week. Before the workout, the team took a muscle biopsy. After, the participants were given a tray of drinks – half had water, half had water-diluted vodka. The alcohol-drinking group consumed about six glasses of diluted vodka in 10 minutes. As they drank, the team took more muscle biopsies, one three hours post-workout, then again two hours later. The results showed the alcohol-drinking group experienced a dramatic drop in muscle growth – particularly in men.” (Daily Mail)

Alcohol also interrupts your sleep, but there’s something important that happens during sleep! Alcohol messes with your sleep cycle, which in turn messes with Human Growth Hormone. This hormone helps with building and repairing muscle. Alcohol can decrease this by 70%!  Something else I found interesting is our bodies can’t use the calories in alcohol. It can’t turn it into glycogen, but is treated like fat. It converts “the sugar from alcohol into fatty acids. As a result, alcohol consumption increases fat storage and can adversely affect your percentage of body fat.” (Insidetracker) Alcohol is loaded with calories. Drink aware states. “Because alcohol is made from sugar or starch, it contains lots of calories – seven calories a gram in fact, almost as many as pure fat!” There’s also a lot on the alcohol break after working out. It’s very common for someone to have a drink after a workout, but what does that do to you?

Alcohol reduces testosterone which is important for men and muscle building and this is also where we hit dehydration. Alcohol makes your trips to the bathroom more frequent. “This is because it acts as a diuretic, which can suck the water you have in your body. As you keep urinating, you will eventually feel more tired.” (1mhealthtips)

This is already a lot of damaging info, yet alcohol is advertised greatly at sporting events, almost religiously. This is especially true for college sporting events, and when college sports are broadcasted on tv. Collegiate events are heavily advertised for alcohol. This is huge. To start, a lot of children watch these events, and many college students aren’t even legally allowed to drink. Dr. Michael Seigel, a professor at Boston University School of Public Health brings this up in a article with courant. “There is a reasonable body of evidence suggesting that alcohol advertising does have an impact on youth alcohol consumption.The heavier the exposure, the more likely youth are to initiate alcohol use,” Siegel said. He said the NCAA should ban alcohol marketing at its member institutions because most students are not of legal drinking age.” (Courant) There are also movements to try to ban alcohol ads and sponsorship for sporting events, such as alcohol ads in television broadcasts of collegiate events. The Center for Science in the Public Interest in 2004 began to promote colleges to sign the College commitment to end alcohol ads for college sports being televised. It was in January 2004 and they specifically wrote to 1,000 plus NCAA-member colleges and universities. “To date 108 colleges have already signed on. Ohio State University, the 2002 college national football champions, was the first school to sign the Commitment.” (CSPI) Although this went on in 2004, colleges are still promoting alcohol at sports events. Some colleges however, bring up good points as to the health of fans. “This fall, 21 colleges will sell alcohol at campus stadiums, double the number from five years ago, according to a recent survey by the Associated Press. Louisville is on that list, and Klein said selling alcohol at games actually enhances safety. Fewer people bring flasks into the stadium, he said, and the school can halt sales after the third quarter.” (Courant)

In return to comments like this there are still public health concerns. Alcohol is a highly addictive substance. “Although legal in the USA and United Kingdom, alcohol was ranked as the second most addictive substance by experts (scoring 2.2 out of a maximum of 3).” (Stop Drinking Expert) This article also states, “Some 22 % of people who have taken a drink will develop dependency on alcohol at some point during their life.” Alcohol has also lead to some scary situations, it’s not just how it affects the drinkers health. “Alcohol abuse, according to federal statistics, leads to an estimated 1,800 deaths, contributes to 599,000 injuries, and is a factor in 97,000 sexual assaults of 18-24 year-olds each year. At UConn (a college), alcohol education starts during freshman orientation and is included in Greek life, residential life, and athletics.” (Courant)

Many people for alcohol advertising in sports also bring up that if alcohol advertising is banned it will hurt profit that comes in and people showing up. Katherine Brown, director of the Institute of Alcohol Studies brings up a good point in an article from The Guardian. “It’s obvious that children growing up idolising sporting heroes with beer brands blazoned across their chests will develop deep-rooted positive attitudes towards drinking. It’s also obvious that high profile alcohol advertising via sponsorship deals work to normalise what is in fact an unnatural association between drinking and sport.” Alcohol advertising is not a necessity in sports. It doesn’t affect how well sports do. “France has had a complete ban on alcohol advertising and sponsorship since 1991. Sport has not suffered and alcohol consumption has decreased in the past 20-odd years. Indeed, France even hosted the 1998 FIFA World Cup with this ban in place and enforced.” (The Conversation)

CC BY-SA 4.0 The problem with alcohol and sports by Whitlee is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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