Alcohol is toxic to your liver, and if you drink heavily over a long period of time you can experience cirrhosis of the liver and death. Heavy drinkers over the long-term can also impair their liver’s ability to actuate vitamins, which contributes to the malnutrition often suffered by long-term alcoholics
Maintaining adequate blood sugar levels is one of the key functions of your metabolism, but when you drink alcohol, maintaining healthy blood sugar levels is one of the first elements of metabolism to be shoved aside in your body’s rush to excrete the toxins as efficiently as possible. Alcohol inhibits your body’s ability to make glucose and to maintain healthy levels of glucose ( or blood sugar ) in the blood.
Over time, heavy drinkers develop glucose intolerance and can even become diabetic. Even occasional alcohol can cause dangerous drops in blood sugar levels, especially when consumed on an empty stomach. That’s why drinking alcohol can be very dangerous for diabetics and hypoglycemics.
Because your body can’t store alcohol and must metabolize it straight away, other metabolic processes suffer. Your body won’t metabolize sugars and fats as efficiently during the metabolism of alcohol, and drinking heavily can cause your metabolism to slow. This can contribute to weight gain, as can the empty calories found in alcohol.
Alcohol also causes weight loss
Alcohol can also cause weight loss in those who drink heavily long-term. Alcohol continues to slow the metabolism of long term drinkers, but it also causes inflammation of the organs of the digestive tract. If you drink heavily in the long-term , alcohol can impair your body’s ability to absorb nutrients. If you become chronically malnourished due to alcohol consumption, you’ll lose weight in spite of your lower metabolism
Alcohol contains only empty calories and has no nutritional value. it can often contribute to malnutrition because high levels of calories in most alcoholic drinks can account for a large percentage of your daily energy requirements. Even one alcoholic drink a day can contribute to malnutrition.
Your body can’t store alcohol, so it must metabolize it straight away. When you drink alcohol, your body makes metabolizing it a priority over all other metabolic processes. Your body sends alcohol to the liver, which produces the enzymes necessary for the oxidation and metabolism of alcohol.
Not only does alcohol not contain any nutrients of its own, but it can impair your body’s natural ability to store nutrients and vitamins from the food you eat.
Alcohol irritates the digestive system – makes the stomach produce more acid which can lead to gastritis, tummy pain, vomiting, diarrhoea, and in heavy drinkers, sometimes bleeding.
In the longer term there is increased risk of cancer, ulcer, acid reflux
The liver is our largest organ and it has 500 different roles. One of the livers most important functions is to break down food and convert it into energy when you need it. Your liver helps the body get rid of waste products and plays a vital role in fighting infections, particularly in the bowel. And yet when your liver is damaged, you generally won’t know about it – until things get serious!
Alcoholic drinks are made by fermenting and distilling natural starch and sugar
Being high in sugar means alcohol contains lots of calories – seven calories a gram in fact, almost as many as pure fat!
Calories from alcohol are “empty calories”, they have no nutritional value. Most alcoholic drinks contains traces of vitamins and minerals, but not usually in amounts that make any significant difference to our diet.
Drinking alcohol also reduces the amount of fat your body burns for energy. While we can store nutrients, protein, carbohydrates, and fat in our bodies, we can’t store alcohol. So our systems want to get rid of it, and doing so takes priority. All of the other processes that should be taking place ( including absorbing nutrients and burning fat) are interrupted.
With a pint of lager containing the same amount of calories as a slice of pizza, the calories soon add up
A pint of Heineken, 5% alcohol has 227 calories
A large glass of red wine, 13% alcohol has 170 calories