Most people do not consider alcohol to be a nutrient, but it does provide 5.5 calories per kilogram of energy. Unlike other nutrients, alcohol does not have to be broken down before it is absorbed. It rapidly gets distributed into the body-water spaces.

Because women have larger fat stores, and therefore smaller water spaces, they are more readily affected by alcohol. They also have lower levels of the enzyme that breaks down alcohol, allowing the alcohol concentration to accumulate.

Alcohol is toxic to the body. It cannot be stored and therefore it must be broken-down by the liver and excreted. A small percentage of alcohol is excreted through the lungs, where it can be detected by a breathalyzer.

  Alcohol affects weight in two ways:

  1. People tend to consume about 20% more calories when drinking because of alcohol’s relaxing effect on the brain.
  2. When the calories in alcohol are figured in, the extra calorie intake rises to 33%.

Any weight-loss program must factor the calories contained in alcohol into the daily total.

The leading cause of death today is heart disease. It has been known for a long time that alcohol consumption decreases atherosclerosis. Numerous studies have shown that alcohol reduces coronary fatalities by over 40%. This is because alcohol improves the blood lipid profile (increasing HDL and decreasing LDL), decreases blood clotting (the source of coronary thomboses), reduces blood pressure, increases blood flow to the heart and decreases insulin levels.

The first scientific paper that showed a benefit of alcohol was published in 1906. Since that time, against the wishes of social scientists, the evidence continues to pour-in. A recent study published in 2010 followed a group of men and women ages 55-65 for 20 years. It placed the people into four categories according to alcohol consumption: non-drinkers, light (less than one drink daily), moderate (less than three drinks daily) and heavy (more than three drinks daily).

% Living after 20 years

Drinker Deaths

We are not endorsing alcohol consumption, but evidence shows that alcohol may have some protective effect on health.