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Alcoholic beverages have been consumed by the human race for centuries. Research has demonstrated that there may be some benefits to consuming alcohol, but there can be some problems as well. For this discussion board please read

Controversy 3: Alcohol Use: Risks and Benefits

at the end of Chapter 3 in our textbook

Nutrition Concepts and Controversies, 15th ed

. After reading that section, please discuss the benefits and risks of alcohol consumption. Use only the information from the assigned reading to support your statements and be sure to cite the source properly using APA formatting.

Your initial post should be at least 250 words.

Back up your answers with textbook references, and cite your sources!

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Chapter 3: The Remarkable Body: 3-9d Short-Term Effects of Too Much Alcohol
Book Title: Nutrition: Concepts & Controversies
Printed By: Alvard Tsaturyan (alla.tsaturyan1@gmail.com)
© 2020 Cengage Learning, Cengage Learning
3-9d Short-Term Effects of Too Much Alcohol
A person who drinks too much experiences negative effects on the body, some transient,
others more damaging. The short-term effects of alcohol toxicity are often reversible, but the
long-term effects may not be.
Dehydration
Excess alcohol exerts impacts on every other body organ. It penetrates all the tissues and
dehydrates them—an effect familiar to anyone who drinks too much. Alcohol depresses the
brain’s production of a hormone (antidiuretic hormone) that curbs excretion of body water—
so urine output increases. The resulting dehydration leads to thirst, and unwary drinkers
who respond by drinking more alcohol only make matters worse. The only fluid that relieves
thirst is water.
Water lost due to dehydration takes with it important minerals, such as magnesium,
potassium, calcium, and zinc, depleting the body’s reserves. These minerals are vital to
nerve and muscle coordination and fluid balance. When drinking incurs mineral losses,
minerals must be made up in subsequent meals to prevent deficiencies.
Hangover
The hangover—the next morning’s miserable headache and nausea—is the result of
drinking too much. Dehydration of the brain is a major cause of a hangover. Alcohol
depletes the brain’s cells of water; when they rehydrate, they swell and cause pain.
In addition, several chemicals in the body contribute to the hangover. Recall that the
stomach and liver are busy converting alcohol to acetaldehyde, a toxic compound that
accumulates in the body for a while, awaiting further breakdown. The later breakdown steps
require the participation of still other liver compounds (glutathione, an important antioxidant,
and cysteine, an amino acid), and these run out before the job is done. Time alone can clear
the hangover-producing toxins from the body.
Paradoxically, because it is toxic, acetaldehyde offers a benefit to drinkers who want to quit.
It is the active ingredient in a drug known as Antabuse (a drug that increases acetaldehyde,
which produces such misery in combination with alcohol that a drinker will refrain from
drinking after taking it. (Acetaldehyde is a product formed during alcohol metabolism.) The
generic form is disulfiram.) , and it produces aldehyde toxicity symptoms so severe that
people addicted to alcohol choose not to drink when they have it in their systems.
Heart and Brain
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So long as excess alcohol is in the body, toxic effects are felt by every organ. The heart,
stomach, and brain are examples. Emergency room nurses describe a condition in
intoxicated people called “holiday heart syndrome,” marked by life-threatening, irregular
heartbeats.
This syndrome can occur in people of any age who take more than a few
drinks in too short a time. But the stomach may come to the drinker’s rescue, because a
major overdose triggers the vomiting reflex, one of the body’s primary defenses against
ingested poisons.
In the brain, small quantities of alcohol selectively sedate inhibitory nerves, producing a
false impression of stimulation. Some people use alcohol to achieve this “high,” believing
that it helps relieve anxiety and enables them to relax, but additional alcohol counteracts the
high and then, in many people, produces tension and stress. When the blood alcohol
concentration rises high enough, it sedates all of the nerve cells.
Figure C3–2 displays the impacts on the brain of progressively higher blood alcohol
concentrations. At 0.08 percent, judgment, reasoning, and emotional control are impaired.
At 0.1 percent, speech centers in the midbrain are sedated. At 0.15 percent, control of
muscles and reflexes becomes impaired. At higher levels still, unconsciousness ensues
and, if the person has drunk fast enough to ingest a lethal dose before vomiting or passing
out, respiration and heartbeat cease. Most highway safety ordinances set the legal limit for
intoxication at 0.08 percent, but driving ability may be impaired at lower concentrations.
Figure C3–2
Effects of Rising Blood Alcohol Levels on the Brain
The higher the blood alcohol, the more severe its effect on brain tissues. This is a
typical progression, but individual responses vary to some degree.
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Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Abstinence from alcohol, together with good nutrition, reverses some of the brain damage
caused by heavy drinking if it has not continued for too many years. Prolonged drinking
beyond a person’s capacity to recover, however, can severely and irreversibly damage
vision, memory, learning, reasoning, speech, and other brain functions.
Clearly, there is a marked contrast in risk between moderate drinking and excessive
drinking. Studies show that although the former may in some ways benefit drinkers, the
latter is extremely harmful.
Chapter 3: The Remarkable Body: 3-9d Short-Term Effects of Too Much Alcohol
Book Title: Nutrition: Concepts & Controversies
Printed By: Alvard Tsaturyan (alla.tsaturyan1@gmail.com)
© 2020 Cengage Learning, Cengage Learning
© 2021 Cengage Learning Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this work may by reproduced or used in any form or by any means graphic, electronic, or mechanical, or in any other manner – without the written permission of the copyright holder.
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Chapter 3: The Remarkable Body: 3-9c Drinking Patterns
Book Title: Nutrition: Concepts & Controversies
Printed By: Alvard Tsaturyan (alla.tsaturyan1@gmail.com)
© 2020 Cengage Learning, Cengage Learning
3-9c Drinking Patterns
Drinking patterns influence alcohol’s effects on the body. Occasional drinkers who take a
glass of wine or two, perhaps once or twice a month, may not be affected at all. A moderate
daily drinker, that is, a woman taking a single drink or a man two drinks a day, may be
affected by this choice, for better or worse. People who drink more than this often suffer the
consequences of dehydration (alcohol suppresses antidiuretic hormone (a hormone
produced by brain that stimulates the kidneys to conserve water in response to
dehydration.) ), and the famous hangover (a delayed, usually morning-after, reaction to
drinking too much alcohol too fast the night before, characterized by a headache and
sometimes nausea.) of the morning after. Those who drink excessively suffer significant
harm to all the body’s organs. Alcohol is an addictive drug, and an alcohol addiction is
alcoholism (dependency on alcohol characterized by compulsive, uncontrollable drinking
with negative effects on physical health, family relationships, and social health.) .
Abstinence from Drinking
People who abstain from alcohol may make this choice for cultural, religious, or health
reasons. Some people should not drink because it poses special risks to them.
You
shouldn’t drink at all if:
You are under the legal drinking age limit. Drowning, car accidents, and traumatic
injuries are common causes of death in children and teens, and alcohol use intensifies
these risks.
You are pregnant or may be pregnant. No safe level of alcohol consumption during
pregnancy has been established.
You are breastfeeding (you may consume one drink if you then wait four hours before
breastfeeding).
You are taking medications that interact with alcohol. Such medications come with
labels that warn you of the risks.
You have liver disease, high blood lipids, pancreatitis, or other conditions that amplify
the harmful effects of alcohol.
You plan to drive, operate machinery, or take part in other activities that require
attention, skill, or coordination such as swimming, biking, or boating.
You cannot limit your drinking to moderate levels.
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Nonalcoholic drinks can also produce some of the pleasant sensations that drinkers seek
(these contain, at most, 0.5% alcohol). Nonalcoholic beers and wines that elevate mood and
ease social interactions are available—as are coffee and sodas. People who don’t drink
alcohol can drink these beverages instead.
Moderate Drinking
Many people drink moderately, sticking within defined limits. Moderate drinkers will not
present the liver with more than it can handle, and a night of restful sleep after a pleasant
social evening is all that is needed to restore the original healthy state. The key to achieving
this result, of course, is to stop before drinking too much. It is worth repeating that alcohol
intake shown to do no immediate damage is:
One standard drink a day for women.
Two standard drinks a day for men.
The left column of Table C3–2 shows how moderate drinkers manage alcohol. You will be
invited to visit the right column in a later section.
Table C3–2
Drinking Behaviors of Moderate and Problem Drinkers
Moderate Drinkers Typically
Problem Drinkers Typically
Drink slowly, casually.
Gulp or “chug” drinks.
Eat food while drinking or
Drink on an empty stomach.
beforehand.
Don’t binge drink; know when to
Binge-drink; drink to get drunk.
stop.
Pressure others to drink.
Respect nondrinkers.
Turn to alcohol when facing
Avoid drinking when solving
problems or making decisions.
Do not admire or encourage
drunkenness.
Remain peaceful, calm, and
problems or decisions.
Consider drunks to be funny or
admirable.
Become loud, angry, violent, or
silent when drinking.
unchanged by drinking.
Physically or emotionally harm
Cause no problems to others or
others when drinking.
themselves, family members, or
themselves by drinking.
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Excessive Drinking
Excessive drinkers drink more than half an ounce of alcohol per hour. The euphoria that
comes on at first is transient and is soon superseded by alcohol’s large-dose effects of
impeding social interactions and diminishing euphoria. Rapid drinkers will quickly manifest
intoxication (a condition of diminished mental and physical ability, hyperexcitability, or
stupor induced by intake of alcohol or other drug.) , especially when drinking on an empty
stomach.
If a person drinks more than can be metabolized by the stomach and liver, the excess flows
in to the bloodstream to the brain and the rest of the body. The lungs and kidneys then
excrete some 10 percent of the blood alcohol in the breath and urine. The alcohol in the
breath is directly proportional to that in the blood, so a breathalyzer test administered by law
enforcement officers can accurately determine the degree of intoxication.
There is no way to hasten the liver’s rate of alcohol clearance: only time alcohol’s largedose effects of impeding social interactions and diminishing euphoria. Rapid drinkers will
quickly manifest intoxication (a condition of diminished mental and physical ability,
hyperexcitability, or stupor induced by intake of alcohol or other drug.) , especially when
drinking on an empty stomach.
If a person drinks more than can be metabolized by the stomach and liver, the excess flows
in to the bloodstream to the brain and the rest of the body. The lungs and kidneys then
excrete some 10 percent of the blood alcohol in the breath and urine. The alcohol in the
breath is directly proportional to that in the blood, so a breathalyzer test administered by law
enforcement officers can accurately determine the degree of intoxication.
There is no way to hasten the liver’s rate of alcohol clearance: only time restores sobriety.
Walking around will not help because muscles cannot metabolize alcohol. Nor will drinking
coffee: caffeine is a stimulant, but it won’t speed up the metabolism of alcohol. The police
say that a cup of coffee only makes a sleepy drunk into a wide-awake drunk. Table C3–3
presents other alcohol myths.
Table C3–3
Myths and Truths Concerning Alcohol
Myth:
A shot of alcohol warms you up.
Truth:
Alcohol diverts blood flow to the skin, making
you feel warmer, but it actually cools the body.
Myth:
Wine and beer are mild; they do not lead to
addiction.
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Truth:
Wine and beer drinkers worldwide have high
rates of death from alcohol-related illnesses. It’s
not what you drink but how much that makes the
difference.
Myth:
Mixing drinks is what gives you a hangover.
Truth:
Too much alcohol in any form produces a
hangover.
Myth:
Alcohol is a stimulant.
Truth:
Alcohol depresses the brain’s activity.
Myth:
Alcohol is legal; therefore, it is not a drug.
Truth:
Alcohol is legal, but it alters body functions and
is medically defined as a depressant drug.
Binge Drinking
Heavy episodic drinking (engaging in heavy consumption of alcohol over a short time
period, with the intention of becoming intoxicated; for a man: drinking five or more drinks; or
for a woman: drinking four or more drinks on at least one occasion within a 30-day period.) ,
often called binge drinking, is a problematic drinking style for a large and growing number of
people.
Young adults enjoy parties, sports events, and other social occasions, but these
settings often encourage binge drinking. Binge drinking skews national statistics, making
alcohol use on college campuses appear to be more common than it is. The median number
of drinks consumed by all college students is 1.5 per week, but for binge drinkers it is 14.5
per week. This destructive drinking pattern is observed in the greatest numbers among
people 18 to 34 and is responsible for most of this group’s alcohol-related accidents and
illnesses.
The harms grow worse with age. In the United States, six binge drinkers die per day—
mostly men aged 35 to 64. Compared with nondrinkers and moderate drinkers, binge
drinkers are also more likely to damage property, assault other people, or cause fatal
accidents. They are also more likely to engage in unprotected sex, resulting in sexually
transmitted diseases and unplanned pregnancies.
Female binge drinkers are more likely
to be victims of rape. Binge drinkers on and off campus may not recognize themselves as
problem drinkers until their drinking behavior causes a crisis such as a car crash, or until
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enough years have passed to cause substantial, potentially irreversible, damage to their
health.
Chapter 3: The Remarkable Body: 3-9c Drinking Patterns
Book Title: Nutrition: Concepts & Controversies
Printed By: Alvard Tsaturyan (alla.tsaturyan1@gmail.com)
© 2020 Cengage Learning, Cengage Learning
© 2021 Cengage Learning Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this work may by reproduced or used in any form or by any means graphic, electronic, or mechanical, or in any other manner – without the written permission of the copyright holder.
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Chapter 3: The Remarkable Body: 3-9b Alcohol’s Chemistry and Handling by the Body
Book Title: Nutrition: Concepts & Controversies
Printed By: Alvard Tsaturyan (alla.tsaturyan1@gmail.com)
© 2020 Cengage Learning, Cengage Learning
3-9b Alcohol’s Chemistry and Handling by the Body
The alcohols (chemical compounds that consist of a carbon atom or chain of carbons to
which a hydroxyl (oxygen-hydrogen) group is attached. The alcohol of alcoholic beverages
is ethanol, which has two carbon atoms.) are a set of compounds, all of which have the
same reactive chemical group at one end.
The smallest alcohol is methanol, which has
one carbon atom; the next-larger one is ethanol (the alcohol of alcoholic beverages, often
called simply “alcohol”; a drug.) (two carbons), the alcohol of alcoholic beverages (you can
see its structure on the first page of Appendix A). Glycerol (three carbons) is next, and
shows up again in Chapter 5 in regard to fats. The suffix -ol identifies the alcohols.
Alcohols affect living things profoundly, partly because they dissolve lipids. Most kinds are
toxins that can injure or kill cells. Alcohol can easily penetrate a cell’s outer lipid membrane
and, once inside, disrupt the cell’s structures and kill the cell. Because some alcohols kill
microbial cells, they make useful disinfectants and antiseptics.
The ethanol of alcoholic beverages is somewhat less toxic than other alcohols. Sufficiently
diluted, taken slowly and in moderation, its action in the brain eases social interactions and
produces euphoria (a state of intense happiness induced by an extremely pleasurable
experience or by a drug such as ethanol.) , a pleasant sensation that people seek.
Because it can be used this way, alcohol can be considered a drug (any substance that,
when taken into a living organism, modifies one or more of its functions. Also defined in
Controversy 2.) , and like many drugs, it presents both benefits and hazards to users.
From the moment one starts to drink an alcoholic beverage, the body gives it special
attention. Unlike food, which requires digestion before it can be absorbed, ethanol starts
diffusing right through the stomach walls into the bloodstream. When the stomach is full of
food, molecules of alcohol are less readily absorbed into the bloodstream; also food delays
the flow of alcohol into the small intestine. Drinkers who want to drink socially and not
become intoxicated eat snacks both before and during drinking.
The stomach possesses an enzyme (alcohol dehydrogenase, abbreviated ADH) that alters
some of the alcohol consumed, leaving its major breakdown product, acetaldehyde (ASSset-AL-deh-hyde). Liver ADH also produces acetaldehyde from alcohol that is absorbed.
Acetaldehyde is even more toxic than alcohol, but a second enzyme (acetaldehyde
dehydrogenase, found in the liver) can break it down further to a nontoxic substance that
ultimately becomes harmless water and carbon dioxide. Most of the body’s ADH occurs in
the liver, and the liver metabolizes the most alcohol by far.
Women make less stomach ADH than men do, and therefore absorb more alcohol from
each drink than do men of equal weight. Experts often warn that women should not try to
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keep up drink for drink with males for this reason.
Alcohol’s next stop beyond the stomach is the small intestine. There, absorption into the
blood takes place promptly. The capillaries that surround the small intestine merge into
veins that carry the alcohol-laden blood to the liver. The liver, with its large quantities of
ADH, is the major site for alcohol breakdown. If a person drinks slowly enough, the liver will
collect nearly all of the alcohol available from the passing blood and process it without much
affecting the other parts of the body.
The liver can process about
ounce of blood ethanol (about one standard drink’s worth)
per hour, depending on the person’s body size, previous drinking experience, gender,
general health, and food intake. Going without food for as little as one day causes
degradation of body proteins, including ADH enzymes, and this cuts the rate of alcohol
metabolism by half, hence the maxim “Don’t drink on an empty stomach.”
Chapter 3: The Remarkable Body: 3-9b Alcohol’s Chemistry and Handling by the Body
Book Title: Nutrition: Concepts & Controversies
Printed By: Alvard Tsaturyan (alla.tsaturyan1@gmail.com)
© 2020 Cengage Learning, Cengage Learning
© 2021 Cengage Learning Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this work may by reproduced or used in any form or by any means graphic, electronic, or mechanical, or in any other manner – without the written permission of the copyright holder.
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Chapter 3: The Remarkable Body: 3-9a U.S. Alcohol Consumption
Book Title: Nutrition: Concepts & Controversies
Printed By: Alvard Tsaturyan (alla.tsaturyan1@gmail.com)
© 2020 Cengage Learning, Cengage Learning
3-9a U.S. Alcohol Consumption
On a given day, an average adult drinker consumes about 16 percent of total calories from
alcoholic beverages, with men drinking more than women by far. Users of alcohol come in
all stripes: some people drink no alcohol, many take a glass of wine with meals, many
others drink mainly at social functions, and still others take in large quantities of hard liquor
(a beverage that is made by distilling a product such as wine or beer, which arose from
fermentation; one that contains a higher percentage of alcohol. Examples are brandy, gin,
rum, vodka, and whiskey.) or other alcoholic beverages daily because of a life-shattering
addiction (a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug
seeking and use, despite harmful consequences; addiction is classified as a brain disease
because addictive drugs change the brain’s structure and functioning.) .
Both heavy drinking (drinking five or more drinks on each of five or more days per month.)
and heavy episodic drinking (engaging in heavy consumption of alcohol over a short time
period, with the intention of becoming intoxicated; for a man: drinking five or more drinks; or
for a woman: drinking four or more drinks on at least one occasion within a 30-day period.)
(binge drinking (engaging in heavy consumption of alcohol over a short time period, with
the intention of becoming intoxicated; for a man: drinking five or more drinks; or for a
woman: drinking four or more drinks on at least one occasion within a 30-day period.) ) are
common drinking patterns, particularly among college-age people. These patterns cause
serious health and social consequences for drinkers and nondrinkers alike.
Among U.S.
adults, one in six is a binge drinker, a pattern accounting for more than half of the annual
deaths attributed to alcohol consumption.
In contrast, people who engage in moderate
drinking (drinking no more than one drink per day (for a woman) or no more than two drinks
per day (for a man) and behaving normally while drinking.) limit their alcohol intakes to one
drink each day for women and two for men—no more—and therefore minimize their risks.
Table C3–1 defines “a drink” and drinking terms; Figure C3–1 depicts servings of alcoholic
beverages that equal one drink. Be aware, however, that most wine glasses hold 6 to 8
rather than 5 ounces of wine; wine coolers may come packaged 12 rather than 10 ounces to
a bottle; a large beer stein can hold 20 or more rather than 12 ounces; and a strong liquor
drink may contain 2 or 3 ounces of various liquors rather than the standard
ounces total.
Table C3–1
Drinks and Drinking Terms
a drink (any alcoholic beverage that delivers 0.6
ounce of pure ethanol. See also proof.) any
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alcoholic beverage that delivers 0.6 ounce of pure
ethanol. See also proof.
addiction a chronic, relapsing brain disease that
is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and
use, despite harmful consequences; addiction is
classified as a brain disease because addictive
drugs change the brain’s structure and
functioning.
alcohols chemical compounds that consist of a
carbon atom or chain of carbons to which a
hydroxyl (oxygen-hydrogen) group is attached.
The alcohol of alcoholic beverages is ethanol,
which has two carbon atoms.
alcohol abuse see problem drinking.
alcoholism dependency on alcohol characterized
by compulsive, uncontrollable drinking with
negative effects on physical health, family
relationships, and social health.
Antabuse a drug that increases acetaldehyde,
which produces such misery in combination with
alcohol that a drinker will refrain from drinking
after taking it. (Acetaldehyde is a product formed
during alcohol metabolism.) The generic form is
disulfiram.
antidiuretic (AN-tee-dye-you-RET-ick) hormone
a hormone of the brain that signals the kidneys to
conserve water; alcohol suppresses this
hormone, increasing urination.
binge drinking see heavy episodic drinking.
drug any substance that, when taken into a living
organism, modifies one or more of its functions.
Also defined in Controversy 2.
ethanol the alcohol of alcoholic beverages, often
called simply “alcohol”; a drug.
euphoria (you-FOR-ee-uh): a state of intense
happiness induced by an extremely pleasurable
experience or by a drug such as ethanol.
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hangover a delayed, usually morning-after,
reaction to drinking too much alcohol too fast the
night before, characterized by a headache and
sometimes nausea.
hard liquor a beverage that is made by distilling
a product such as wine or beer, which arose from
fermentation; one that contains a higher
percentage of alcohol. Examples are brandy, gin,
rum, vodka, and whiskey.
heavy drinking drinking five or more drinks on
each of five or more days per month.
heavy episodic drinking (binge drinking)
engaging in heavy consumption of alcohol over a
short time period, with the intention of becoming
intoxicated; for a man: drinking five or more
drinks; or for a woman: drinking four or more
drinks on at least one occasion within a 30-day
period.
intoxication a condition of diminished mental and
physical ability, hyperexcitability, or stupor
induced by intake of alcohol or other drug.
moderate drinking drinking no more than one
drink per day (for a woman) or no more than two
drinks per day (for a man) and behaving normally
while drinking.
problem drinking (alcohol abuse) drinking
behavior that causes social, emotional, family,
job-related, or other problems because of alcohol
overuse; a step on the way to alcoholism.
proof (the percentage of alcohol in a beverage; a
term used on labels. Water is the main ingredient
in alcoholic beverages; proof equals twice the
percentage of alcohol. Examples: Most beers and
malt beverages are about 5 to 10 percent ethanol
(10 to 20 proof). Most wines contain about 13 to
15 percent (26 to 30 proof), whereas “hard”
liquors (whiskey, vodka, rum, and brandy) have
about 50 percent (100 proof).) the percentage of
alcohol in a beverage; a term used on labels.
Water is the main ingredient in alcoholic
beverages; proof equals twice the percentage of
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alcohol. Examples: Most beers and malt
beverages are about 5 to 10 percent ethanol (10
to 20 proof). Most wines contain about 13 to 15
percent (26 to 30 proof), whereas “hard” liquors
(whiskey, vodka, rum, and brandy) have about 50
percent (100 proof).
Figure C3–1
Servings of Alcoholic Beverages that Equal One Drink
Each of these beverage servings is one standard drink, containing 0.6 oz of pure
ethanol.
© Polara Studios, Inc.
Chapter 3: The Remarkable Body: 3-9a U.S. Alcohol Consumption
Book Title: Nutrition: Concepts & Controversies
Printed By: Alvard Tsaturyan (alla.tsaturyan1@gmail.com)
© 2020 Cengage Learning, Cengage Learning
© 2021 Cengage Learning Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this work may by reproduced or used in any form or by any means graphic, electronic, or mechanical, or in any other manner – without the written permission of the copyright holder.
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Chapter 3: The Remarkable Body: 3-9g Nutrition and Alcohol Use
Book Title: Nutrition: Concepts & Controversies
Printed By: Alvard Tsaturyan (alla.tsaturyan1@gmail.com)
© 2020 Cengage Learning, Cengage Learning
3-9g Nutrition and Alcohol Use
Nutrition and alcohol interact in many ways, some beneficial, some harmful. Among the
beneficial ones, a small dose of alcohol (such as a small glass of wine) may stimulate the
appetite in a person who is too anxious to eat or an elderly person who has lost interest in
food. Research shows that moderate use of wine in later life also improves morale,
stimulates social interactions, and promotes restful sleep among people who drink. In
nursing homes, improved patient and staff relations have been attributed to offering one
drink of wine or an afternoon cocktail to elderly patients who drink.
On the negative side, alcohol may burden the body with unwanted body fat. Alcohol itself is
caloric, and alcoholic beverages can be very high in calories. Ethanol yields 7 calories of
energy per gram (compared with 4 for carbohydrate, 4 for protein, and 9 for fat). Only a
small percentage of the calories of ingested ethanol escape from the body in breath and
urine. Also, drink mixers, such as piña colada mix, often present many additional calories.
Table C3–5 offers some examples of the calories in alcoholic beverages and mixers.
Table C3–5
Calories in Alcoholic Beverages and Mixers
Labels of alcoholic beverage containers need not list calorie amounts, but calories in
alcoholic drinks, such as cocktails, may soon appear on many restaurant menus.
Beverage
Malt beverage (sweetened,
Amount (oz)
16
Energy (cal)
350
such as hard lemonade)
Malt beverage (unsweetened)
16
175
Wine cooler
12
170
4
160
12
150
Pina colada mix (no alcohol)
Beer
Dessert wine
140
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Beverage
Fruit-flavored soda, Tom Collins
Amount (oz)
Energy (cal)
8
115
mix
Gin, rum, vodka, whiskey (86
105
proof)
Cola, root beer, tonic, ginger
8
100
4
100
12
100
ale
Margarita mix (no alcohol)
Light beer
Table wine
Tomato juice, Bloody Mary mix
85
8
45
8
1
(no alcohol)
Club soda, plain seltzer, diet
drinks
Fat and alcohol interact in the body. Presented with both fat and alcohol, the body stores the
comparatively harmless fat and rids itself of the toxic alcohol by using it preferentially for
energy. As a result, alcohol promotes fat storage, often in the central abdominal area—the
“beer belly” often seen in drinkers.
The use of alcohol increases the likelihood of developing vitamin and mineral imbalances.
Like sugar, alcohol constitutes “empty calories”—that is, it delivers energy without bringing
any nutrients along. A 2,000-calorie diet consisting of nutritious foods, is bound to deliver
more nutrients than one in which 500 calories of food have been displaced by alcohol. In
addition, alcohol alters the metabolism or promotes the excretion of several important
vitamins.
When minerals become unbalanced, the blood’s sensitive acid-base balance
can falter, creating a medical emergency.
Alcohol abuse also disrupts every tissue’s metabolism of nutrients. In the presence of
alcohol, stomach cells oversecrete both acid and histamine, the latter an agent of the
immune system that produces inflammation. Intestinal cells fail to absorb thiamin, folate,
vitamin
, and other vitamins. Liver cells lose efficiency in activating vitamin D. Cells of
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the eye’s retina, which normally process the alcohol form of vitamin A (retinol) to the form
needed in vision (retinal), must process ethanol instead. Liver cells, too, suffer a reduced
capacity to process and use vitamin A. The kidneys excrete needed minerals: magnesium,
calcium, potassium, and zinc.
The inadequate food intake and impaired nutrient absorption of alcohol abuse lead to a
deficiency of the B vitamin thiamin in about 80 percent of people with alcohol addiction.
In fact, the cluster of thiamin-deficiency symptoms commonly seen in chronic alcoholism
has its own name—the Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. This syndrome is characterized by
paralysis of the eye muscles, poor muscle coordination, impaired memory, and damaged
nerves. Thiamin supplements may help to repair some of the damage, especially if the
person stops drinking.
Another dramatic example is alcohol’s effect on folate. When an excess of alcohol is
present, the body actively expels folate from its sites of action and storage. The liver, which
normally contains enough folate to meet all needs, leaks its folate into the blood. As blood
folate rises, the kidneys excrete it, as if it were in excess. The intestine normally releases
and retrieves folate continuously, but it becomes so damaged by folate deficiency and
alcohol toxicity that it fails to absorb folate. Alcohol also interferes with the action of what
little folate is left. This interference inhibits the production of new cells, especially the rapidly
dividing cells of the intestine and the blood.
Nutrient deficiencies and imbalances are thus an inevitable consequence of alcohol abuse
not only because alcohol displaces food but also because alcohol interferes directly with the
body’s use of nutrients. People treated for alcohol addiction also need nutrition therapy to
reverse deficiencies and to treat deficiency diseases rarely seen in others: night blindness,
beriberi, pellagra, scurvy, and acute malnutrition.
Chapter 3: The Remarkable Body: 3-9g Nutrition and Alcohol Use
Book Title: Nutrition: Concepts & Controversies
Printed By: Alvard Tsaturyan (alla.tsaturyan1@gmail.com)
© 2020 Cengage Learning, Cengage Learning
© 2021 Cengage Learning Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this work may by reproduced or used in any form or by any means graphic, electronic, or mechanical, or in any other manner – without the written permission of the copyright holder.
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Chapter 3: The Remarkable Body: 3-9f Long-Term Consequences of Excessive Drinking
Book Title: Nutrition: Concepts & Controversies
Printed By: Alvard Tsaturyan (alla.tsaturyan1@gmail.com)
© 2020 Cengage Learning, Cengage Learning
3-9f Long-Term Consequences of Excessive Drinking
A term that describes self-destructive, excessive drinking is problem drinking (drinking
behavior that causes social, emotional, family, job-related, or other problems because of
alcohol overuse; a step on the way to alcoholism.) , also known as alcohol abuse (drinking
behavior that causes social, emotional, family, job-related, or other problems because of
alcohol overuse; a step on the way to alcoholism.) . Typical behaviors of problem drinkers
can be recognized by looking at the right side of Table C3–2, which provides a kind of mirror
for problem drinking behavior.
Alcoholism is the most severe form of self-destructive drinking. Many people who start out
drinking moderately find that they cannot sustain a moderate drinking pattern but slide into
harmful and dangerous excess. For people with alcoholism, drinking leads to many forms of
irrational and dangerous behavior including driving while intoxicated, arguments and
violence, and unplanned and risky sexual behavior. With continued drinking, such people
face psychological depression, physical illness, severe malnutrition, and demoralizing
erosion of self-esteem. Making matters worse, because alcohol is an addictive drug, denial
accompanies the addiction. “I’m not an alcoholic,” say many with an alcohol addiction, and
the first step toward recovery is admitting the problem. If you are wondering about the
possibility that you may have a drinking problem, refer to Table C3–4. If you conclude that
you do, you should seek a professional evaluation right away.
Table C3–4
Symptoms of Problem Drinking and Alcoholism
A health professional can diagnose and evaluate problem drinking or alcohol
addiction with the answers to these questions. In the past year, have you:
Ever ended up drinking more or
Continued to drink even though it
for longer than you intended?
was causing trouble with your
Wanted to cut down or stop
family or friends?
drinking, or tried to, but couldn’t
Found that drinking—or being
on more than one occasion?
sick from drinking—often
Felt a strong urge or craving for a
drink?
Endangered yourself more than
once while or after drinking (such
as driving, swimming, using
interfered with taking care of your
home or family? Or caused job
troubles? Or school problems?
Given up or cut back on activities
that were important or interesting
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machinery, walking in a
to you or that gave pleasure in
dangerous area, or having
order to drink?
unsafe sex)?
Found that, when the effects of
Noticed that you need more than
alcohol were wearing off, you
your regular number of drinks to
had withdrawal symptoms, such
feel the effect?
as trouble sleeping, shakiness,
Continued to drink even though it
made you feel depressed,
anxious, or physically ill?
Spent a lot of time drinking, or
being sick, or getting over other
aftereffects?
restlessness, nausea, sweating,
racing heartbeat, or seizure? Or
sensed things that were not
there?
Found yourself drinking to hold
off withdrawal symptoms?
If you have any of these symptoms, or if people close to you are concerned about
your drinking, then alcohol may be a cause for concern. The more symptoms you
have and the more often you have them, the more urgent the need for change.
See a health professional.
Note: These questions are based on symptoms for alcohol use disorders in the American
Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition,
2013. The DSM is the most commonly used system in the United States for diagnosing mental
health disorders.
Prolonged, excessive drinking produces cumulative, irreversible damage to the brain, the
liver, kidneys, heart, and all other body systems. The progression of liver damage is shown
in Figure C3–3. The figure presents a classic photo of the stages of liver degeneration
associated with prolonged excessive drinking, demonstrating the potential severity of the
damage. Many more details about the harms from excessive alcohol intakes are known, and
many people die of them each year.
Figure C3–3
Alcohol Damage to the Liver
Left, normal liver; center, fatty liver; right, cirrhosis
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Arthur Glauberman/Science Source
Chapter 3: The Remarkable Body: 3-9f Long-Term Consequences of Excessive Drinking
Book Title: Nutrition: Concepts & Controversies
Printed By: Alvard Tsaturyan (alla.tsaturyan1@gmail.com)
© 2020 Cengage Learning, Cengage Learning
© 2021 Cengage Learning Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this work may by reproduced or used in any form or by any means graphic, electronic, or mechanical, or in any other manner – without the written permission of the copyright holder.
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Chapter 3: The Remarkable Body: 3-9e Potential Benefits of Moderate Alcohol Use
Book Title: Nutrition: Concepts & Controversies
Printed By: Alvard Tsaturyan (alla.tsaturyan1@gmail.com)
© 2020 Cengage Learning, Cengage Learning
3-9e Potential Benefits of Moderate Alcohol Use
Some studies show that moderate drinking correlates with benefits to health, but these
studies are tricky to interpret. Four types of studies are of particular interest: studies of adult
populations, studies that compare drinking patterns of different countries, studies that focus
on young people, and studies that compare effects of wine with other types of drinks.
Population studies are suggestive, but they cannot yield proof of cause. They reveal only
correlations. Simply stated, if “A” often goes with “B,” this doesn’t prove that “A” causes “B”
or vice versa. It may be that a third factor, “C,” causes both “A” and “B.”
Among the correlations found: populations of moderate drinkers often have reduced risks of
heart attacks, strokes, and diabetes.
They also have improved blood lipids and bloodclotting factors.
These studies suggest, but cannot prove, that moderate drinking
reduces heart disease risks; they show that the two occur together. It may be that moderate
alcohol consumption simply reflects higher socioeconomic status, which is also
characterized by better diet, less stress, more exercise, less smoking, and more accessible
medical care.
Population studies made in France shed light on the relationship between drinking and
health. In France, light and moderate daily drinking dispersed throughout the week is the
norm, and this drinking pattern correlates with indicators of above-average heart health and
lower-than-average mortality. In other countries, people who consume the same amounts of
alcohol have higher disease risks. They often drink in heavy episodes. For example, they
may abstain on most weekdays but then consume four or five drinks or more each weekend
day. Because the total alcohol consumed is within the “moderate” range when averaged
over time, researchers may accidentally count these people among moderate drinkers in
surveys, but they are in fact heavy episodic drinkers who are incurring high risks of heart
disease and mortality.
Studies of alcohol use by teens and young adults yield evidence that is crystal clear.
Whether or not young people drink, their highest mortality rates are not from disease, but
from car crashes, homicides, and other violence. Drinking, even just a little, raises the risks
of young people’s deaths from these causes. For them, the question whether moderate
alcohol use benefits heart health becomes irrelevant.
As for the benefits of drinking wine, research is continuing. Anyone you ask will probably tell
you that red wine is good for health. Labels on red wines sold in the United States often
make statements such as “We encourage you to consult your family doctor about the health
effects of wine consumption.” Such statements seem to promise some good news about
wine and health, but the science on wine and health is mixed. For example:
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Some good news: Some population studies show that a glass or two of wine each day
often correlates with a lower-than-average risk of heart attacks.
The credit for this
effect may be owed to the grape juice from which the wine is made: grape juice
contains potassium and the phytochemical resveratrol (see Controversy 2), which
may help maintain normal blood pressure; and these ingredients persist when the
juice is made into wine.
Bad news: Alcohol in large amounts, even from red wine, raises blood pressure and
increases inflammation, effects detrimental to the heart.
More good news: Some of the phytochemicals in wine seem to oppose certain
cancers.
More bad news: Such phytochemicals are poorly absorbed; only tiny amounts reach
body tissues.
And the good news about cancers is counterbalanced by the finding that consuming
alcohol, even in amounts of less than one drink per day, can cause or contribute to cancers
of the the breast, colon, esophagus, liver, and throat; the greater the intake and the longer
the exposure, the greater the risk.
To conclude, then, although researchers would like to be able to report definitive findings on
the possible benefits of moderate drinking, the scientific evidence is not persuasive. The
Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that no one begin drinking or drink more
frequently in hopes of benefitting their health.
Chapter 3: The Remarkable Body: 3-9e Potential Benefits of Moderate Alcohol Use
Book Title: Nutrition: Concepts & Controversies
Printed By: Alvard Tsaturyan (alla.tsaturyan1@gmail.com)
© 2020 Cengage Learning, Cengage Learning
© 2021 Cengage Learning Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this work may by reproduced or used in any form or by any means graphic, electronic, or mechanical, or in any other manner – without the written permission of the copyright holder.
https://ng.cengage.com/static/nb/ui/evo/index.html?eISBN=9781337907088&id=1052297674&nbId=2184131&snapshotId=2184131&dockAppUid=101&
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