What exactly is alcohol and what can it do to you?
It's a toxin - a mind-altering, behaviour changing drug. It also
works as a depressant on the central nervous system and lowers inhibitions
so that you may be likely to take risks or behave in a way that
you wouldn't if sober.
also affects your power of judgement and co-ordination, so you are
more likely to have an accident.
We all hear about units of alcohol in connection with sensible drinking
but can you tell us what a unit of alcohol is?
unit of alcohol is equal to:
1/2 pint of ordinary (3.5 per cent) strength beer or lager
25 ml pub measure of spirits (40 per cent)
small (125 ml) glass of 9 per cent wine
50 ml pub measure of sherry, port or vermouth
Can you tell us the units in some of the most popular drinks?
large (175 ml) glass of 12 per cent red wine - 2 UNITS
bottle of 11 / 12 per cent wine - BETWEEN 8 AND 9 UNITS
330 ml bottle of 4 / 5 per cent lager or cider - 1.5 UNITS
pint of 5 per cent export lager - 3 UNITS
bottle of alcopops / ready mixed drinks - 1.5 UNITS
can of strong (9 per cent) lager - 4 UNITS
So, apart from the obvious immediate effects, how can it affect
Alcohol passes straight through the stomach walls into the bloodstream
and so affects ALL PARTS OF THE BODY as the blood travels
on the parts of the body in the boxes to find out how alcohol affects
is eliminated from the body via the liver. A normal healthy liver
can process alcohol at a steady rate of 1 unit per hour. This remains
constant no mater how much you drink.
Booze Britain is a buzz phrase of the moment, but what is your definition
Binge drinking is classed as drinking five or more units in one
is damaging because it overloads the system and the concentration
of alcohol in the body just keeps increasing.
effects of this can:
2. Exhaust the liver and intestines
3. Inflame the pancreas
4. Increase the chance of kidney and urinary infections because
alcohol is dehydrating.
So what are the effects of prolonged heavy drinking?
This can directly cause diseases (e.g. liver diseases such as cirrhosis
and cancer), be a major factor in diseases (e.g. high blood pressure,
strokes, heart disease, oral cancer) or be one of a number of factors
side effects include:
- because the body gets loaded with toxins and struggles to clean
itself properly. Skin also becomes dehydrated.
gain - because alcohol is loaded with calories but has no nutritional
value. Although, heavy drinking can cause loss of appetite, increasing
the risk of conditions such as anorexia.
rough calorie content of drinks:
of lager - 160-180 calories
Glass of wine - between 75 (dry) and 100 (sweet) calories
Pub measure of spirits - between 55 (whisky) and 75 (brandy)
Pub measure of liquer - between 80 and 100
Are there any other dangers?
Yes, as well as diseases there are other mental or social dangers
such as unplanned or unsafe sex, the vulnerability to attack, social
exclusion, criminal activity, family problems and relationship breakdowns.
REMEMBER - if you are taking the contraceptive pill and vomit,
you may eliminate the pill from your body and be at increased risk
So, what do you consider to be 'sensible drinking'?
For women, the recommended safe drinking level is up to TWO OR
THREE UNITS A DAY with a COUPLE OF ALCOHOL FREE DAYS EACH
men, the recommended safe drinking level is up to THREE OR FOUR
UNITS A DAY with a COUPLE OF ALCOHOL FREE DAYS EACH WEEK.
affects the female body differently to the male body because women's
bodies have 10 per cent more fat than men's and they have less fluid
to dilute the alcohol so the concentration of alcohol in the body
the average woman (58kg) weighs considerably less than the average
man (70kg) and so has comparatively less tissue to absorb alcohol.
you give us your best tips for cutting down?
for cutting down
your units - maybe keep a drinks diary!
for your drinks and stick to it!
for other ways to relax.
more alcohol free days.
won't drink before ....' - set a time and stick to it.
from export to ordinary strength lager.