We’ve all heard the stories about the promising young athlete who blows his professional career chances, or worse, overdoses or drinks too much and gets behind the wheel of a car. We wonder when we hear these stories about what it was that caused this person to take the risk. Why risk a lucrative professional career in sports by taking drugs or drinking alcohol? Why spend all that time and effort working to get in the best shape of your life if you’re going to take such risks? Because alcohol and drugs, and even cigarettes, are addictive substances. Not only do they leave the user craving more, they also damage the brain and other organs. If you want to live a healthy life, there’s no room for these addictive substances.
Why talk about tobacco, alcohol, and drugs in a book on nutrition and fitness? Actually, it’s precisely the place to the talk about them. Health is an overall state of well-being. It relies on a good and varied diet, physical activity, and treating your body well. Each of the substances talked about in this chapter are in direct contrast to these goals. Let’s see what researchers have learned about the ill effects of these substances on your health. Just as good nutrition can be a good habit for life, addictive substances can easily become bad habits for life.