Alcohol has become an integral part of our celebrations and festivities and is associated with both happiness and grief as well. When happy or celebrating people resort to alcohol. Similarly in times of stress, people depend on it for solace. It has its benefits as well as its drawbacks and is most often misused.
Alcohol and its Varieties
Alcohol,also known as ethanol, is produced by fermentation of fruits and grains. Its consumption slows down brain activity resulting in release of stress and giving a feeling of pleasure, satisfaction and relaxation. There are many different types and varieties of alcohol like Brandy, Wine, Beer, Spirits, Whiskey, Rum, Gin, Liqueurs etc. Wine is made from grapes, beer from malted barley, rum from molasses or sugarcane and vodka from potatoes, grains, beets, molasses etc.
Alcohol has empty calories and doesn’t contain much nutritional value. Following are calories provided by various alcohol varieties:
Wine – 1 glass of 125 ml = 90 calories
Beer – 1 Pint = 160 calories
Spirits – A serving of 25 ml contains 55 calories
Whisky, Gin and Brandy – 1 serving of 35ml=72 calories
Rum 1 shot = 97 calories.
Often while taking the diet history, smoking and alcohol consumption is neither asked for nor taken into account. But even its moderate and occasional intake must be considered into diet recall. Alcohol is more commonly consumed by men than woman.
As per a widely conducted research, there is no safe intake of alcohol for men as well as women. Various studies typically mention alcohol consumption in moderation to be safe. But recent studies specifically mention that risks of drinking alcohol out weigh its health benefits.
Drawbacks when alcohol is consumed in excess
Have you ever experienced a hangover? Then you will agree to the fact that its consumption may not always make you feel good!
Alcohol when consumed in excess, leads to a number of complications and health problems. Rise in blood alcohol concentration can lead to slurring of speech, impairment of motor functions, confusion, breathing problems, coma as well as death. Insomnia is also a commonly seen drawback. It leads to high blood pressure and also causes migraines. The sugar content in alcohol is also alarmingly high.
Excess alcohol consumption over a long period of time affects not only brain and liver but also pancreas and immune system. It causes pancreatitis in people who have a heavy drinking history. It also increase risk of cancer of bowel, mouth, breast, throat and liver. Alcohol consumption is also linked to the spread of Cancer. It endangers the Liver and causes many liver related diseases like liver cirrhosis, alcoholic hepatitis, steatosis and liver fibrosis. It also contributes to weight gain and diabetes along with higher incidences of heart diseases.
- Do not drink alcohol on empty stomach.
- Space your drinks apart.
- Do not compromise on consumption of healthy food.
- Avoid alcohol if you have liver disease.
- Do not drink if have to stay alert and drive/ study/play/work.
- Do not drink when you are pregnant or when you wish to conceive. There is no safe intake of alcohol during pregnancy.
- Moderate intake of alcohol consumption is widely researched for his benefits to heart health. This benefit is also widely published and is into news. But you simply need not start drinking for health reasons. Instead healthy eating and being active can give you similar benefits without any other disadvantages.
An occasional glass of red wine for celebrations may have health benefits, but if made a habit to indulge in drinking alcohol it leads to many health complications. There may be no safe level of consumption of alcohol, but no one will recommend abstention. Only you can do your good! Read twice, think wise.