WHAT IS ALCOHOL AND HOW IS IT METABOLIZED?

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WHAT IS ALCOHOL AND HOW IS IT METABOLIZED?

Calories provide energy for our bodies to function. We get calories from carbohydrates, protein, fat, and alcohol. For each gram, you get a set number of calories.

 

1 gram Calories
Carbohydrates 4
Protein 4
Fat 9
Alcohol 7

 

The vitamin, mineral, and water content add to the nutritional value for each of these nutrients but do not provide any calories. The key to a healthy diet is to spend your calories on foods that provide a variety of vitamins and minerals without a lot of calories. Alcohol can do the exact opposite of this. It doesn’t provide a lot of vitamins and minerals and you can easily get an entire meal’s worth of calories from a few cocktails! Alcohol interferes with how your body processes and stores nutrients so the healthy foods that you do eat don’t get to do their job.

 

Once alcohol is in your system, your body makes metabolizing it a priority. That means that it will stop metabolizing anything else in order to first get the alcohol metabolized. The reason for this is because unlike protein, carbohydrates, and fat, there is nowhere for alcohol to be stored in our body so it has be metabolized first.

Once alcohol enters your stomach, up to 20% of it can be absorbed there and go directly into your bloodstream. Within minutes, alcohol will reach your brain and give the feeling of being a stimulant. No other nutrient is able to do this. The remaining alcohol goes to your intestines and is absorbed there with the rest of the nutrients. A small amount of alcohol is excreted through sweat, saliva, urine, and your breath, which is how it is detected by a Breathalyzer.

 

Your liver is the primary site for alcohol metabolism. A healthy liver oxidizes pure ethanol at the rate of about ¼ to ⅓ of an ounce per hour, which is less than 1 ounce of hard liquor.

The following factors can influence the BAC:

  • Gender
  • Race
  • Food consumed with the alcohol
  • Chronic alcohol consumption
  • Drinking pattern
  • Medications

The consumption of one standard drink will result in a peak in BAC within 35 to 45 minutes. . A 4.5-ounce glass of wine, and a 1.5-ounce shot of liquor all contain a ½ ounce of pure alcohol and are considered one drink.

 

Controlling the rate of consumption will give your liver time to metabolize the alcohol and limit your BAC. Once you stop drinking, your blood alcohol level decreases by about 0.01% per hour. You are legally intoxicated with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.8. Time is the only way to eliminate alcohol from your system, so cold showers and coffee will not sober you up. Trying to get someone who is drunk to feel and appear more alert can cause a false sense of sobriety to the person drinking and everyone around them. That’s why caffeine drinks mixed with alcohol are dangerous. A 4.5-ounce glass of wine, and a 1.5-ounce shot of liquor all contain a ½ ounce of pure alcohol and are considered one drink.

 

Alcohol can lead to weight gain from the calories it provides and by causing you to eat more calories after consuming the alcohol. The late-night munchies are often associated with a night of drinking. Have you ever realized that anytime that you drink alcohol you are hungrier or you end up eating more than usual?

Studies have shown that in the short term, alcohol stimulates food intake and can also increase feelings of hunger. Having your judgment impaired and stimulating your appetite is a recipe for failure if you are trying to follow a weight-loss plan.

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