The Effects Of Alcohol Essay

2133 words - 9 pages

The Effects of AlcoholFinal Research PaperIntroduction to NutritionThere are many reasons why a person consumes alcoholic beverages. They choose to use alcohol to relax, decrease stress, promote social interaction, produce feelings of happiness and satisfaction. The human body requires psychological balance and unfortunately many people turn to alcohol to obtain psychological balance. But what are the consequences of consuming alcoholic beverages to our body?In order to understand how alcohol is broken down in our body, we need to understand what alcohol is. Ethanol is the type of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages and is diluted with water and other substances. It is considered a drug because the body builds up an increasing tolerance to it and develops a craving for it. Alcohol is a lipid-soluble compound and it can diffuse into the cells of our body and affect their function. (Martini, 2004. pg. 472). The cells in our body have a selective permeable membrane meaning they only allow certain substances in and out of the cell but if a molecule is a lipid-soluble it can enter a cell without any help. This is why alcohol affects so many of our bodily function (motor skills, speech, muscles).Alcohol does not need to be digested. Most of it is absorbed through the stomach walls directly into the bloodstream (Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2004). Alcohol is able to reach the brain through the bloodstream within a minute depending on certain circumstances (Frances and Whitney, 2003. pg. 92). When the stomach is full it takes the alcohol longer to reach the stomach walls. Diluting alcoholic drinks, carbohydrate snacks, and high fat snacks slow alcohol absorption because it keeps it in the stomach longer (Frances and Whitney, 2003. pg. 92). Also the size of the person is a determining factor because the same amount of alcohol is diluted more in a larger person's body than a smaller person's body. The liver breaks down alcohol at a certain rate and the more alcohol in the bloodstream causes more effects on the body than if there is a small amount in the bloodstream that the liver breaks down as it enters. Liver oxidizes alcohol at the rate of 1/4-1/3 oz. of pure ethanol an hour; meanwhile the unmetabolized alcohol continues to circulate in the bloodstream (Herbert and Subak-Sharpe, 1995. pg. 350). There isn't anything that can speed up the process of the liver. Only time will allow the body to completely breakdown alcohol through oxidizing or excreting it. 5% of alcohol leaves the body by perspiration, respiration and the urine (Herbert and Subak-Sharpe, 1995. pg. 350). If a person drinks a small amount of alcohol or drinks a beverage slowly, the alcohol will be collected by the liver and processed without much effect on other parts of the body (Frances and Whitney, 2003. pg. 93)Alcohol is classified as a nutrient because it provides energy. 1 gram of alcohol contains 7 calories (Herbert and Subak-Sharpe, 1995. pg. 349). These are considered empty calories...

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