Alcoholic beverages! Sound so good at the end of a long week, or maybe even on a regular basis! There is some good news about alcohol followed by bad news. It all depends on how much you’re drinking and what you’re drinking!
Let’s uncover some alcohol basics.
1. What happens to alcohol after you consume it?
Alcohol is quickly absorbed from your stomach and small intestine into your bloodstream after you consume it. Your liver metabolizes the alcohol but it can only do so much work at once; hence, the excess alcohol hangs out in your blood until the liver frees up to metabolize it. Alcohol affects your entire body.
2. What is considered one drink?
One drink is:
- · one standard bottle of beer
- · 5 oz of table wine
- · 1.5 oz shot glass of 80 % proof vodka, whiskey, tequila, gin or rum (or 40 % alcohol by volume, ABV)
- · 1.5 oz shot glass of brandy
3. How much alcohol is there in each drink?
One serving of any type of alcohol (beer, table wine or whiskey) has the same amount of alcohol. In other words, a 5 oz glass of table wine will have the same amount of alcohol as a standard bottle of beer.
4. Do alcoholic beverages have calories?
You’re kidding, right? YES, alcoholic beverages have calories. Take a look at the following tables:
|Miller Genuine Draft
|Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
|Sam Adams Boston Lager
|Guinness Extra Stout
|Cabernet Sauvignon (red)
|Sauvignon Blanc (white)
||Up to 10
|Gin & Tonic
||Up to 500
||Up to 10
|Long Island Iced Tea
||Up to 550
||Up to 11
5. Does this mean that alcohol can make a person fat?
Basically, yes. Just because it is alcohol you are drinking, does not mean that the calories magically disappear. The calories are used the same way as calories that come from your potatoes, soda, etc. The excess calories eventually get stored as fat in your body unless you work it off.
6. I thought alcohol was good for me, especially for my heart?
Research does show that alcohol does in fact benefit the heart and helps in coronary heart disease prevention, especially red wine. Red wine has antioxidants that are thought to reduce LDL levels which carry cholesterol into the cells, hence, “bad” and increase HDL which carry cholesterol away from the cells, hence, “good.” Resveratrol (an antioxidant) which is found in grapes (hence wine) is also thought to have a role in cancer prevention.
7. So wine is good for me. Which wine should I drink?
Studies done at University of California, Davis reveal that Cabernet Sauvignon has the highest number of flavonoids, in other words, antioxidants. The next two good wines are Petit Syrah and Pinot Noir.
8. How much wine should I drink?
According to Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005, men can benefit from drinking 1-2 drinks per day (1 – 4 or 5 oz glass of wine) and women can benefit from drinking 1 drink per day.
Drinking more than that can have a negative effect on your health; hence, drinking in moderation is the key! Drinking more than 2 drinks per day may lead to the alcoholic fatty liver, weight gain or cirrhosis which changes the liver architecture.
Alcohol can be beneficial when consumed in moderation (just like everything else) and can be bad for your health when consumed in excess ( more than 2 drinks per day for men and 1 drink per day for women).