What is it and why is it important?
Alcohol, less commonly referred to as ethanol, is produced when yeast ferments carbohydrates, like sugars and starches. Alcoholic drinks consist mostly of ethanol, water and sugar.
Alcohol has played and continues to play a major role in various cultures and religions. However, excessive consumption of alcohol can negatively affect every organ in the body and increases risk of various cancers, liver disease, malnutrition, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, bone loss, central nervous system damage, cognitive impairment, compromised immune system and diabetes. Plus, alcohol irritates the gastrointestinal tract and can contribute to an array of unwelcome GI symptoms, including diarrhea and bloating.
Alcohol is found in beer, wine and liquor. A serving of alcohol is equal to a 12-ounce regular beer, four-ounce glass of wine and one-and-a-half ounce glass of 80-proof distilled liquor. Alcohol contains seven calories per gram and each “serving” has roughly 14 grams of pure alcohol.
For healthy individuals, it is considered safe for women to drink up to one alcoholic beverage per day and men no more than two servings per day.
Although some literature suggests that drinking no more than the recommended one to two drinks a day is healthy for the heart, this is not enough reason to recommend that people start drinking alcohol.
What else do I need to know?
Alcohol does not make you a good singer.
Various medications interact with alcohol, resulting in increased risk of sickness, injury or death.
Attention women: Do not try to drink one for one with your guy friends because women absorb more alcohol than men thanks to having more fat and less water in their bodies.