High on alcohol or high on life – Choice is yours!

Downside of alcohol consumption

In a survey conducted by the Social Development Foundation of the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) amongst 2000 teenagers (15-19 years old) in cities like Mumbai, Kochi, Chennai, Hyderabad, Indore, Patna, Pune, Delhi, Chandigarh and Dehradun, it was noted that liquor consumption was most prevalent in Delhi and Mumbai followed by Chandigarh and Hyderabad. The reason cited for initiating alcohol intake was mainly peer pressure and also absent parents, easy money, and rising stress and depression.

In today’s fast-paced lifestyle with increased stress accompanied by loneliness, depression and the desire to ‘fit in’; more youngsters are resorting to alcohol as much as adults and elderly. Let us see what are the perils of “getting high” on this so called stress-busting beverage!

Like any other food component, alcohol also contributes to total calorie intake with every 1gm providing 7kcal. But these are considered as empty calories as they do not supply energy to the body. Alcohol is metabolized in the liver to produce a toxic end product which gets accumulated in the tissues resulting in disease.

Downside of alcohol consumption

Heart disease: Excessive alcohol intake causes increase in blood pressure and risk of stroke. Earlier, it was reported that alcohol consumption has a U-shaped relation with heart disease risk with very high intake or total abstinence being associated with increased incidence of cardiovascular diseases. Hence moderate alcohol consumption was advised. Nevertheless, the American Heart Association cautioned people NOT to start drinking … if they do not already drink alcohol.

Liver disease: Alcohol is metabolized in the liver and excessive consumption may lead to accumulation of its toxic products which cause alcoholic liver disease.

Brain: The end-product of alcohol metabolism can pass into the brain cells causing depression of the central nervous system and sluggishness.

Obesity:  Alcohol consumption tends to increase appetite. Also, it is generally consumed alongwith sweetened mixers and fried snacks which contribute to increased calories.

Cancer: Alcohol intake is considered as a risk factor for several cancers such as mouth, throat, larynx, esophagus, duodenal and breast.

Safe recommended intake:

Moderate drinking is defined as 1 drink per day for women and 2 drinks per day for men. One drink is described as 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1 1/2 ounces of distilled liquor.

12-ounces of beer 13.7 g (0.6 ounces) 153 kcal
5-ounces of wine (White) 15.6 g 125
5-ounces of wine (red) 15.1g 121
1.5-ounces or a “shot” of 80-proof distilled spirits or liquor (e.g., gin, rum, vodka, or whiskey 14g 97 kcal


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