Alcohol – the must know’ facts
Did you realise that your body sees alcohol as a poison? It doesn’t like it. Not only because it believes that it’ll do you harm, but because it can’t store its calories. So when you drink alcohol, your body’s first reaction is to break it down and get rid of it as quickly as possible. It immediately stops metabolising anything else, and prioritises metabolising the alcohol.
Your stomach breaks down about 10% of the alcohol, another 10% is metabolised by your brain, which is why you feel intoxicated. The remaining 80%, like fructose, is metabolised by your liver.
Try as it might to get alcohol out of your system quickly, it takes your liver an hour to metabolise one alcoholic drink. When you drink a lot of alcohol, your system becomes saturated. Alcohol accumulates in your blood until it can be metabolised by your liver, which is why the effect of drinking alcohol can last for a long time.
Drinking alcohol may be pleasurable, but you are drinking calories, lots of them. A 250ml glass of wine contains 280 calories, the equivalent of eating a bar of chocolate. A pint of lager contains 180 calories. Drink five pints of lager every week and you will drink 45,000 extra calories in a year. The sums are easy to do.
The problem with alcohol is that it’s metabolised in the same way as fructose -as fat. (Hardly surprising, because alcohol is simply fermented sugar). Your liver converts alcohol into aldehydes, some of which is converted into glucose. The remainder forms free fatty acids and then triglycerides which are then shunted into your fat cells. The really bad news is that the fat made by alcohol is the toxic, visceral, pro-inflammatory variety that surrounds your major internal organs and manifests itself externally as -belly fat.
Alcohol? It makes you fat!