What does alcohol do to the body?
What effect does alcohol actually have on shape, weight and metabolism?
What really happens
…… before you feel affected?
Alcohol affects you before you even realize it. Even when you have a blood alcohol level of 0.2, the ability of your eyes to focus is reduced. When it reaches 0.5, your point of view is reduced and your ability to assess situations and to control your movements is less.
… with your self-control and judgment?
“When alcohol goes in, the brain goes out,” they say.
Alcohol affects your judgment whether you want it or not. After large amounts, it also affects your speech, your balance.
At a per mille of 1.0, the risk of traffic accidents is tenfold. At 2.0, your self-control is completely gone. And your ability to assess whether that is the case might also be affected.
… with your blood circulation
Alcohol dilates the blood vessels, which can both give you red cheeks and cause the heat to spread.
… with the kidneys and bladder
There are two good reasons why you urinate more when you drink alcohol. Alcohol suppresses the hormone vasopressin, which keeps the water in the body. In addition, alcohol also acts as a diuretic in itself, which means that more fluid enters into the bladder.
… with your appetite
Alcohol can affect your appetite. Whether it does so, and how it does so, varies from person to person. Some people experience more appetite when they drink, while others’ appetite decreases.
… with your immune system
Your body is getting worse at fighting bacteria and viruses. The effect can last up to 24 hours after you have been drunk.
… with your brain
Alcohol has a sedative effect on the communication between the neurotransmitters in your brain.
One of the first things that happen is that your decision-making ability and your impulse control are diminished. Later, you start worrying solely about the near future and therefore go for immediate need satisfaction without thinking about the consequences. Just like you also gradually lose control of your emotions.
There are also a number of physical things happening, such as you becoming less able to focus, your coordination and balance ability deteriorates, your reaction time is being reduced, etc.
… In the liver when drinking alcohol?
The liver converts alcohol into acetaldehyde and then into acetate, which is transported through the blood around the body, where it is converted into energy.
The liver burns most of the alcohol and cleaning the body after a city trip puts it to hard work. It results i.a. in that your blood-sugar drops and that you may become more hungry and irritable.
People with high, long-term alcohol consumption also have an increased risk of injuries such as hepatitis, fatty liver and cirrhosis.
… When drinking alcohol on an empty stomach?
Your body absorbs alcohol from the stomach and small intestine. If your stomach is empty when you drink, the alcohol will quickly pass further into the system. If, on the other hand, you have eaten a good meal, it will all remain longer in the stomach, and this gives the enzymes here time to break down some of the alcohol. If you have not eaten all day before a city trip, the alcohol will, therefore “hit” you faster.
A rule of thumb is that your blood alcohol level peaks after ½-1 hour from the time you ingested it. But already after a few minutes, it will be in the blood and starting to affect you.
… If you want to be fast sober?
It is individually how quickly alcohol is metabolized in the body, but a rule of thumb is approx. 0.15 grams per kilo weight per hour. Common to all, however, is that the speed is fixed and you can not change it by either drinking coffee, getting fresh air or moving.
… If you mix different kinds of alcohols?
An object is an object. But strong alcohol such as tequila and schnapps you typically drink faster than alcohol with lower alcohol content e.g. a beer. And therefore we experience that it “strikes harder”. The more different things the body has to break down, the harder it is. And therefore the hangover can feel worse if you have mixed the wet goods well and thoroughly.
… with your figure and weight?
Alcoholic beverages contain a lot of calories. In fact, almost as much energy per gram as fat. On the other hand, it is energy that saturates poorly, which is why we often eat just as much next to the liquid calories. Maybe even more so because alcohol promotes enjoyment and is often drunk in good company. If you do not burn similar extra calories, they are converted into fats of the kind that have a predilection for the stomach region.
… with your metabolism?
Alcohol is also suspected in some research circles to inhibit fat burning, which in that case just contributes further to an accumulation of fat, which is neither healthy nor on the wish list of quite a few of us.
… with your sex drive
Because the frontal lobes of your brain are inhibited, experiencing more alcohol makes you want more sex. Unfortunately, it also happens that the blood vessels dilate, which means that as a man you can have difficulty maintaining an erection because the blood flows from the penis as fast as it flows to the penis.
… With your skin?
Alcohol dilates the blood vessels, so if yours lies further in the skin, you will experience redness in the skin. In addition, alcohol can have a dehydrating effect on the skin, so it will feel dry. Conversely, sebum production can increase and cause problems with acne.
… With your mood?
Alcohol can affect your mood in both directions. Basically, alcohol boosts the mood you are in. If you are happy, you will typically experience more joy when you drink alcohol. If you are sad and distressed, the whole thing will probably get gloomier as the per mille increases. Alcohol is therefore a very bad medicine if you are depressed or find the whole thing grey and frustrating.
… With your sleep?
You will probably find that it is easier for you to fall asleep after drinking. On the other hand, the sleep you get with alcohol in your blood will probably be restless, perhaps marked by nightmares, and often you will wake up several times. You do not get the important deep sleep (REM sleep) and will therefore be both tired and unwell the next day.
… With your physical shape?
You cannot perform top physically after drinking large amounts of alcohol. The body’s fluid and sugar balance are affected and make it difficult to train through. You will have an elevated level of the stress hormone cortisol and a decreased amount of testosterone in your body for 24 hours thereafter. This means breakdown of muscle mass and longer recovery time after exercise. You probably feel tired and unwell at the same time, and your motor skills may not be quite in place either.
… If you drink more than 14 items a week?
Alcohol is linked to 60 different diseases, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, gastrointestinal disorders, lung, musculoskeletal disorders and mental disorders. The higher the consumption, the greater the risk. And you seriously start being in the risk zone if your weekly consumption is at 14 items or more.