What alcohol does to you – by Harold Gunatillake

What alcohol does to you.

It is the season we all indulge and drag into excess drinking. This video is for us to be cautious.
Yes, it is for us to think twice before getting intoxicated during this holiday season. Alcohol is also called ethyl alcohol or ethanol. It is made from grains, fruits or veggies through a process called fermentation- when yeast or bacteria react with the sugars in such food and the by-product is ethanol and carbon dioxide.

Sri Lankans in the villages drink a fermented product from potatoes and other fruits called “Kasippu” very toxic to the liver. One gram of alcohol has 7 calories, which is more than one gram of carbs having 4 calories, proteins -4 calories and fat has 9 calories.

A 12 ounces regular beer has 14 grams of pure alcohol. What this means is that one beer drink puts on 14 into 7 calories- amounting to 98 Cals.

This is how you could account for the beer bellies, seen in the way-side pubs.This is all empty calories from beer drinking which is stored in the belly as visceral fat.

A standard drink of alcohol is defined as 12 oz. of regular beer, 5 oz. of wine and 1.5 oz of spirits. What this means is that a standard serving sizes of all alcoholic beverages- beer, wine, and liquor- are equal in alcohol, strength and effect on the body.  So habitual drinking does put on weight which will affect your health and wellbeing. Alcohol enters the blood stream from the mouth and rest of the gut without burning extra calories. So, alcohol provides empty calories which is stored without the body using extra calories to break down.

On the other hand, the food you eat has a ’thermic effect’ meaning that energy is used to digest our food in the gut, and no energy is used for any breakdown of alcohol you drink. Did you know that drinking cool water uses about 5 calories to make it warm in your stomach?

So, if you are thinking of maintaining a healthy weight, it is advisable to drink cool water more than warm water.
How the liver treats alcohol?
When digested food and alcohol enters the liver through the portal veins, the latter being a toxic molecule, the liver seem to prioritize metabolizing alcohol first, before metabolizing the food you eat. Liver can only metabolize and clear alcohol at the rate of an ounce liquor per hour. In a standard drink of alcoholic beverage contains 14 grams of pure alcohol, equivalent to 0.6 fluid ounces of pure alcohol, which is about ½ tablespoon.

What this implies is that if you drink more than two drinks of alcoholic drinks you will feel tipsy within the first hour.
Your brain feels the alcohol within thirty seconds after the first sip. This will slow down the chemicals and pathways your brain cells use to send messages.

This will alter your mood, slow down your reflexes and may feel unsteady. It will affect your driving and your reflex actions may not be prompt in an emergency.

Alcohol drops your blood sugar

Insulin in your blood stream couriers the sugar to its destinations like the liver, muscles and fat cells for storage and produce energy for metabolic activities. Liver stores the sugar as glycogen. It also controls the blood sugar level. Alcohol consumption causes an increase in insulin secretion, which can lead to lowering of blood sugar.

It is also observed that moderate amount of alcohol may cause blood sugar to rise,as beer and sweet wine contains carbs, though excess alcohol can decrease your blood sugar level.

Uncontrolled diabetics should be very careful in drinking alcoholic beverages, as they may cause your blood sugar to either rise or fall, in addition to adding calories to affect your body weight.

What this means is that people with diabetes can have an occasional drink if your blood sugar is well controlled with medication.

You need to check with your doctor to see if drinking alcohol is safe for you. Drinking alcohol stimulates your appetite, which can cause you to overeat and may affect your sugar control.

Alcohol can affect and interfere with the positive effects of oral diabetes medicines or insulin.

Alcohol tends to increase your blood pressure.

Do not drink more than two drinks of alcohol in a one-day period if you are a man, or one drink if you are a woman. (Example: one alcoholic drink = 5-ounce glass of wine, 1 1/2-ounce “shot” of liquor or 12-ounce beer).

Drink alcohol only with food.
Drink slowly.
Avoid “sugary” mixed drinks, sweet wines, or cordials.
Mix liquor with water, club soda, or diet soft drinks.

Alcohol affects your brain cells

If you drink heavily regularly your brain cells gets smaller and shrink the brain. Shrunken brain may influence your thinking, memory, learning, and affect your control of body temperature.

Should you drink alcohol to sleep?

After a hard day’s work, you may feel okay to have a small drink to wind down.Alcohol’s slow-down effect on your brain can make you drowsy, so you may doze off more easily. It will unwind you, but you won’t sleep well.

Your body processes alcohol throughout the night and when the effect goes off, you may toss and turn in your bed and keeps you awake. Your mouth would be dry by morning after even a small drink. Keep a bottle of water with you and sip it every time you wake, and you may feel fresh in the morning.

Alcohol on the stomach

If you suffer from indigestion, be cautious of drinking alcohol. Alcohol irritates your stomach lining, and you may feel nauseated and you may throw up.

Drinking alcohol for a long time can cause stomach ulcers. If you suffer from heart burn, drinking alcohol relaxes the muscles that prevent acid juice refluxing into the gullet, and you may suffer from worse heart burn. You may not absorb all the nutrients you need for your wellbeing and health, drinking regularly for a long time.
You may become malnourished.

Your small gut and colon also get irritated. Your food may not be digested properly and may lead to lose motions.

Alcohol leads to liver damage

A drink of alcohol may take the liver 6 hours to get rid of it from your blood.Your second drink meanwhile remains in your blood waiting to enter the liver.Your third drink may be in queue after the second and may take over 12 hours to enter your liver from your blood to break down.

Now you can understand why RBT is on action, the morning after, to catch that third drink, and inevitably you will be over the limit. Heavy drinking causes a fatty liver and become hard or fibrous. That limits blood flow, so liver cells don’t get enough oxygen required for the liver cells to survive. Liver cells can get scarred and lead to a disease called cirrhosis.

Are you a poor methylator?

Alcohol you consume needs to be detoxified in the liver through a biological process called, ’methylation’ A gene called MTHFR plays a key role in methylation.

If this gene is deficient in your body detoxification of alcohol is slow and you may
have a severe hang over the next morning
To combat that holiday hangover, MTHFR activity can be enhances by taking-
• Eating veggies such as broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels
• Taking Vitamin D, E and B
• Supplementing melatonin
Stay well hydrated after drinks. Alternate between having alcohol and water
Pick low calorie alcohol alternatives:
Red or white wine: 5 ounces | Calories; 125, Carbohydrate: 4g
Light beer: 12 ounces | Calories: 100; Carbohydrate: 5g
Champagne: 5 ounces | Calories: 100; Carbohydrate: 1g
Vodka, whiskey, rum or gin: 1.5 ounces | Calories: 96; Carbohydrate: 0g

Holiday cocktails like eggnog, punch and champagne can also add sugar and calories
to your body, and diabetics should be careful not to over-indulge.
Try not to overindulge in sugary drinks. One trick is to avoid the highly sweetened mixers, where most of the sugar sneaks in. Your best bet is to stick with beer, wine and low-sugar mixers like soda water or a splash of fruit juice.
Alcohol damages your pancreas Pancreas manufactures insulin to maintain your blood sugar level, also other chemicals help intestines breakdown food.
Alcohol causes inflammation of the gland, which can lead to serious damage.
Think of all these detrimental factors when you take the first sip of any alcohol.

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