Alcohol and health

The Christmas and New Year period is traditionally a period of excesses. Getting together with family or friends is often an excuse to enjoy meals in a festive spirit.

A study published in December 2018 * showed that alcohol, especially red wine, was a major cause of migraines for many people. This post Christmas period offers the perfect opportunity to learn more about the effects of alcohol on our metabolism.21

On an empty stomach, alcohol concentration in our blood is at its maximum after 45 minutes after ingestion, and after 90 minutes, if the glass has been drunk during or after a meal (according to Inserm). Drinking alcohol is a very much part of socialising, which we will normally first come into contact during our adolescence. “In 2014, 58.9% of 17-year-olds said they had already been drunk in their lifetime “ (Again, according to Inserm). This is why it is important not to consider alcohol as a classic drink, but rather as a pleasurable drink which should always be consumed in moderation. Just as is the case with table sugar, our body does not benefit from regular alcohol consumption. It even considers alcohol a toxin that must be eliminated quickly.

Alcohol and weight

Ethanol is more calorific than protein and carbohydrates: 7 calories for one gram of ethanol, versus 4 calories for one gram of protein or 1 gram for carbohydrates. A glass of alcohol, respecting the normal dose for each type (whiskey, beer, wine …) contains about 10g of ethanol, or 70 calories. Therefore, 3 glasses of alcohol adds 210 calories to your meal! Not to be sniffed at. Yet, they are often additional calories that we often forget when we want to lose weight.

Alcohol and your liver

It is well known that Ethanol (alcohol) can have grave consequences on our organs: cirrhosis, for example. Cirrhosis consists of a progressive transformation of certain parts of the liver into fat. There are no obvious symptoms, apart from possible fatigue, weight loss, pains in the abdomen and sometimes a fever. In the long term, it can cause cancer of the liver, or other serious complications. Cirrhosis can develop after 10 to 15 years of alcohol consumption of 2 glasses per day in a women, and 6 to 10 glasses per day in a men, all spirits combined.

The liver can, however, suffer other damage due to excessive consumption of alcohol, such as steatosis or alcoholic hepatitis.

Alcohol and your brain

Because everything seems easy when we are drunk, alcohol not only disinhibits but also  causes us make a lot of mistakes. It alters behaviour, increasing the risk of violence or an accident while driving under the influence. As Inserm asserts, high alcohol consumption leads to the “remodelling of connections between neurones”, which leads to an increased risk of addiction, especially before the age of 25. Increased consumption also causes problems with memory and concentration. Finally, heavy drinking increases the risk of depression and anxiety.

In order to avoid the excesses and their consequences, officially we should limit our consumption to three glasses a day for men and two glasses for women, maintaining at least one day a week without alcohol. However, these recommendations are steadily going down as even with this type of consumption, the risk of cancer is increased. In addition, alcohol has, as already mentioned, an effect on weight gain: if you are rebalancing food, alcohol can still be included in a balanced diet as long as it remains an exception rather than the rule.

Taking into account your alimentary preferences, we will organise a food rebalancing which will not only eliminate toxins but also help you attain your desired weight loss.

* Onderwater, van Oosterhout, Schoonman, Ferrari, & Terwindt, 2018. Alcoholic beverages as a trigger factor and the effect on alcohol consumption behavior in patients with migraine. European Journal of Neurology

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