The scenario is a party at home for Leaving Cert students. Drinkaware.ie says “alcohol poisoning is incredibly dangerous and teenagers and inexperienced drinkers are particularly vulnerable to it”. “If you suspect someone has alcohol poisoning , call an ambulance immediately“.
Drinkawaste.com advice to teenagers on the other hand is clearcut – alcohol is a dangerous , toxic, addictive drug –
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!
Alcohol is notorious for leading people to overeat because of its physiological effect on appetite and because it is generally consumed in a social setting where food is plentiful.
There’s no place to store alcohol in our bodies the way we do food; therefore the body must use incoming alcohol preferentially as its energy source in order to keep it from reaching toxic levels. This gives alcohol its natural ability to stimulate appetite by depleting the glycogen (carbohydrate) stores in order to metabolize it, causing you to crave carbohydrates.
Alcohol also acts as a diuretic, increasing urination thus decreasing electrolytes like sodium. Again we now begin to crave the things we are losing – hence our desire for salty carbohydrate – like foods ( e.g. chips, crisps, dips, crackers , etc.,).
When you combine alcohol’s natural effects on appetite with its well-known un-inhibiting effects at a destination full of palatable foods, you have hungry people who often end up with no cares about what and how much food they consume.