What Happens When You Drink Alcohol?
After drinking something with alcohol in it, the liver is the main organ doing the work. The enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) metabolizes the ethanol (the type of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages) into acetaldehyde, which is toxic to our bodies. Then the liver enzyme aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) metabolizes acetaldehyde into acetate. Acetate is a less toxic compound that further breaks down into water and carbon dioxide.
Some alcohol metabolism occurs in other parts of the body, but most is occurring in the liver. Acetaldehyde and acetate are the compounds that contribute to hangover symptoms. You may already be well aware of how hangovers feel. However, other symptoms include drowsiness, concentration problems, dry mouth, dizziness, headache, gastrointestinal complaints, sweating, nausea, hyperexcitability and anxiety.
What Else Goes Along with Alcohol Consumption?
- It stops your body from burning fat.
- When alcohol is consumed, it’s burned first as a fuel source before your body uses carbohydrates or fats for energy. Then when your body is using alcohol as a primary source of energy, the excess carbohydrates and fats end up stored in your body as adipose tissue, or fat.
- Alcohol is high in calories.
- It leads to greater hunger and less satiety (the feeling of being full).
- It causes poor food choices because it lowers your inhibitions.