DRINKS are merely liquid foods. They all pertain to the aqueous group noticed in the, article DIET. They are arranged by Pereira in his Treatise on Food and Diet in the six following orders: 1. Mucilaginous, farinaceous, or saccharine drinks—as toast-water, barley-water, gruel, etc. They are very slightly nutritive, and differ but little from common water.
2. Aromatic or astringent drinks—as tea, coffee, chocolate, and cocoa. The action of the first two is noticed in the article DIET. The last two drinks contain a considelktble quantity of oil and starch. • 3. Acidulous drinks—as lemonade, ginger-beer, raspberry-vinegar water, etc. They allay thirst both by the acid which they contain and, the water, and form cooling anti scorbutic drinks.
4. Drinks containing gelatine and osmazome—the broths and soups. These, if prop erly prepared, should contain all the soluble constituents of their ingredients.
5. Emulsive or milky drinks—as animal milk, the milk of the cocoa-nut;-and almond milk, a drink prepared from sweet almonds. Animal milk contains all the essential ingredients of food; the others are slightly nutritive.
6. Alcoholic and other intoxicating drinks—including malt liquor or beer in its vari ous forms of ale, stout, and porter; wines; spirits in their various forms of brandy, rum, gin, whisky, etc. .
"Considered dietetically," says Pereira, "beer possesses a threefold property: it quenches thirst; it stimulates, cheers, and, if taken in sufficient quantity, intoxicates; and lastly, it nourishes or strengthens. The power of appeasing thirst depends on the aqueous ingredient which it contains, assisted somewhat by its acidulous constituents (carbonic and acetic acid); its stimulating, cheering, or intoxicating power is derived either wholly or principally from the alcohol which it contains (from 2 to 3 per cent); lastly, its nutritive or strengthening quality is derived from the sugar, dextrine, and similar substances contained in it: moreover, the bitter principle of hops confers on beer tonic properties. From these combined qualities, beer proves a refreshing and
salubrious drink (if moderation), and an agreeable and valuable stimulus and support to those who have to undergo much bodily fatigue.
Wine is our most valuable restorative when the powers of the body and mind have been overtaxed; but as the most perfect health is compatible with total abstinence from it, no possible benefit car. accrue to a healthy person from commencing its use. The uses of wine as a tonic during convalescence after lingering diseases, and of either wine or spirits in some acute diseases (fevers, etc.), are too well known to require notice.
The action of spirituous drinks has been noticed in the article DIET, and will be fur ther discussed the article TEMPERANCE.
We shall conclude this part of the subject with a word or two on the condiments or seasoning agents which are taken with foods for the purpose of improving their flavor. Excluding salt, which must be considered as a saline alimentary principle, the most common condiments, such as mustard, capsicum (Cayenne pepper), pepper, the various spices, etc., owe their action to the presence of a volatile oil. Sauces are usually fluid mixtures of these condiments with alimentary substances. In a healthy state, condi ments and sauces affol.c1 little or no nittrition;'axid although for it time they may stimu late a debilitated stomach to increased action, their continual use never fails to induce a subsequent increased weakness of that organ. Salt and vinegar are the only exceptions. When used in moderation, they assist in digestion; vinegar, by rendering muscular fiber more fluid; and both together, by producing, as Dr. Beaumont believes, a fluid having some analogy to the gastric juice (Experiments and Observations on the Gastric Juice and the Physiology of Digestion, p. 40, Edin. 1838).
The cookery of foods, although partially noticed in the articles BOILING, BROILING, COOKERY, DIET, etc., requires some general consideration in the present place.