Myths and facts about alcohol

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Alcohol consumption is associated mainly with pleasant moments. Alcoholic beverages have always played a leading role in people’s lives. However, alcohol consumption is often accompanied by myths that tend to mislead people.

Wine protects heart

Fact. The effects of alcohol consumption do not vary depending on the type of alcohol consumed. However, many studies have shown that moderate consumption of red wine exerts a protective effect on the heart. This benefit is attributed to polyphenols, such as resveratrol, and antioxidants that protect the vessels, reduce inflammation and the risk of atheromatosis, as well as the oxidation of LDL cholesterol. However, this benefit is only present in moderate alcohol consumption.

Alcohol affects equally women and men

Myth. The truth is that women are more vulnerable to alcohol. Men have more water in their bodies and women have less weight and fat in proportion to men. The result is that the same amount of alcohol consumed, leads to higher percentages of alcohol in the body in women and thus get drunk more quickly and more easily in comparison with men.

Alcohol can get us fat

Fact. Compared with the other food ingredients, alcohol holds the second highest position, having 7kcal per gram. Considering that carbohydrates and proteins have 4kcal/gr. and fat 9kcal/gr., you can easily understand why people who drink a lot, are more fat than others. On the contrary, you may notice that people who drink large amounts of alcohol for many years are very thin. Alcoholics usually substitute food with beverages, thus they maintain energy balance

Alcohol does not adversely affect brain function and mood

Myth. High alcohol consumption adversely affects brain function. Αs many studies have shown, high alcohol consumption affects the way cells communicate with the brain, resulting in confusion and loss of memory. In situations where high levels of alcohol are consumed and there are deficiencies in certain nutrients, reduced cognition and bad mood may be observed.

When consuming food and special fat along with alcohol, its effect is shorter

Fact. Alcohol cannot be stored in the body, so it is metabolized first in relation to the other components of our diet (carbohydrates, proteins and fat). Alcohol metabolism takes place in the liver after it is absorbed by the gastrointestinal system. When alcohol is consumed along with a meal, absorption of ethanol is delayed as food is mediated.

Frequent and high alcohol consumption is not dangerous to health

Myth. Ethanol in small quantities does not cause damages to the body. In large quantities, however, it becomes toxic. Esophagitis, heartburn, gastritis, cirrhosis of the liver, cardiac arrhythmias, hypertension, myocardial infarction, memory loss, cancer and even death are some of the side effects of high alcohol consumption. It is recommended that adult women and men older than 65 years to consume up to 1 portion of alcohol per day, while men under 65, up to 2 servings of alcohol a day.


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