The Effects of Alcohol Consumption on your Health

Alcohol consumption refers to the intake of drinks like wine, beer, or distilled spirits like vodka and whiskey containing ethyl alcohol. At the initial stage of alcohol production, products, usually beer and mead, were used as a part of the diet because of their capability to produce the body with a substantial amount of calories. However, in the modern world, people drink alcohol for various reasons like relaxing their minds, mingling and getting drunk. Some individuals take alcohol as a result of addiction.

The component ethyl alcohol is made by fermenting natural sugars found in plants using yeast. This method is old, going back to about 10,000 years where plants were fermented to produce alcohol. Alcohol is known to affect different parts of the human body depending on the amount consumed; for instance, moderate consumption of alcohol can provide the body with health benefits and some health risks. Excess consumption of alcohol lacks any potential health benefit but comes with a lot of health risks.

How much is really enough?

 Being conscious of how much alcohol one consumes is crucial. Therefore, moderate alcohol consumption refers to one drink for women and two for men per day. This divergence is related to how the human body is made up. Women tend to have a smaller body than men, and the amount of water percentage in men tends to be higher than in women. This means that the concentration of alcohol in a woman's blood will be higher compared to men.

When referring to a drink, we will stick to the one developed in the federal Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005, where it is made up of 14 grams of alcohol; this can easily be explained as;

  • Twelve fluid ounces of regular beer.
  • Five fluid ounces of wine.
  • 1.5 fluid ounces of 80 proof distilled spirits.

 With the above reference, it is easy to say that one beer can produce 145 calories, one glass of red wine 105 calories, and one shot of distilled spirit 95 calories. This is without the addition of other calories produced by other components added to these drinks.

Risks and Benefits of Consuming Alcohol

Consumption of moderate alcohol consumption has been shown to reduce one's chances of having the following;

  • Heart attacks
  • Abrupt death resulting from cardiac issues
  • Diseases of the vessels of the body
  • Blood clots associated with cerebrovascular accidents.

 Research has shown that having these conditions was reduced by 25 and 40 percent in men and women, respectively.

However, there are also risks involved with moderate alcohol consumption like;

  • Increased risk of breast cancer development among women
  • Damages on the development of the unborn child
  • Alteration of sleeping patterns
  • Adverse reactions with many medical drugs
  • Alcohol abuse as a result of alcohol dependency.

Consumption of a high amount of alcohol can be defined as an intake of more than 15 drinks for men and eight drinks for women per week. Too much alcohol consumption can cause alcohol abuse disorders which are alcohol dependency and alcoholism.

Alcohol dependency can affect individuals by putting their lives at risk, either by driving recklessly while under the influence of alcohol, putting their lives and others at risk, or having legal problems like divorce.

Signs and symptoms of alcohol dependency

  • Tolerance of the effects resulting from alcohol consumption.
  • Abstinence can cause physical symptoms of withdrawal.
  • More alcohol is consumed than the usual amount.
  • Efforts of amounts of alcohol consumed fail.
  • Dissociating self from social and work environment to create more time for drinking.

Effects of Alcohol Consumption on the Nutritional Status of an Individual

  1. Alcohol consumption has been identified as a barrier to achieving good nutrition and health status due to its influence on eating habits, leading to poor dietary habits. Looking at alcohol and food, if more than 30% of the number of calories one consumes is from alcohol, then such a person is likely to suffer from serious nutritional deficiencies. It's not only likely for the person to fall short of protein, mineral, and vitamin requirements, the alcohol is also likely to prevent the absorption of some nutrients found in the food consumed.
  2. Those who abuse alcohol are likely to develop malnutrition and deficiencies in Vitamin B-complex, especially B1, B2, B6, and essential amino acids, as well as Vitamin C. They can also develop either excess or deficiencies of Vitamin A. Also, they are likely to damage their liver leading to the development of Liver Cirrhosis.

The Effects of Alcohol on your Health

Alcohol affects one's health in numerous ways and increases your risk of some conditions. Here are some common effects of alcohol on your health. 

  1. Increased chances of developing cancer of the esophagus.
  2. Increased chances of developing mouth cancer.
  3. Increased chances of developing liver cancer.
  4. Increased chances of developing breast cancer among women.
  5. Increased chances of developing cardiovascular disease among heavy drinkers.
  6. Increased chances of developing cerebrovascular accidents among heavy drinkers.
  7. Loss of judgment.
  8. Loss of memory.
  9. Increased risk of motor skills.

In conclusion, if you must take alcohol, consume it in moderate amounts.

Written by

Jackson Peter Omanwa