In 2005, the US Food Agency issued an opinion on alcohol consumption. The agency advises: alcohol intake should be careful and moderate, which means - no more than one drink for women and two for men. Note that this is the maximum daily intake.


If you do not drink during the week, but drink 6 beers on Saturday, this can not be considered a moderate intake.
Groups that should not consume any alcohol are also classified. These are women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant as well as breastfeeding women.


Other risk groups are people addicted to alcohol or those with a relative who abuses it; people on drug therapy in whom alcohol interacts with drugs. It is clear that this group also includes drivers, people working with large machines and other professions that require concentration and coordination of movements.


The maxim that separates drugs from poisons: "The dose makes the poison" applies in full force to alcohol. When wondering if and how much to drink, weigh the pros and cons well, weigh the risks and benefits. 


What benefits can we have from a moderate alcohol consumption?

For most people, a daily glass of wine or beer has a calming and relaxing effect. This can reduce stress, anxiety and improve self-confidence.


A glass of wine can improve appetite and digestion and make dinner more delicious.
Studies show that moderate alcohol consumption is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease. Alcohol lowers levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) and at the same time increases those of good cholesterol (HDL). It also improves the rheological properties of the blood (fluidity).


Recently, there has been great interest in the phytochemical resveratrol , which can be found in red wine, grapes, peanuts, etc. Laboratory trials have shown that resveratrol may reduce the risk of developing some chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart and liver disease.


On the other hand, even moderate alcohol consumption can lead to health problems. Daily alcohol consumption increases the risk of developing hypertension, especially if consumed on an empty stomach. Regular alcohol consumption is associated with bleeding and increases the risk of hemorrhagic stroke. The usual glass of wine in the evening can also affect the waist.


Alcohol is not classified as a nutrient because it does not have a specific, indispensable role in human metabolism. However, it carries calories to the body - 7 kcal / g, which is a high-calorie source.


Only fats have a higher energy value (9 kcal / g). Regular alcohol consumption increases daily energy intake, which increases the risk of overweight and obesity.


The leaflets of many medicines state that combining them with alcohol is inappropriate. Alcohol can increase the toxicity of some drugs and vice versa. Alcohol can compromise the action of painkillers (opioids and non-opioids), hypnotics, antidepressants.


In diabetics using insulin, alcohol may increase its action, which would lead to a sharp drop in glucose levels.


How is alcohol metabolized?

Alcohol is absorbed in both the stomach and small intestine. It does not need pre-grinding to be absorbed. Consumption of food before drinking can reduce alcohol levels by up to 50%.


Carbonated alcoholic beverages are digested very quickly. This explains why we get drunk very quickly when we drink champagne and sparkling wines. It is a known fact that women get drunk faster than alcohol than men. This is due to the fact that they absorb 30 to 35% more than the tested amount.


Alcohol is almost completely metabolized (processed) in the liver. And a small part in the stomach. The two enzymes, alcohol dehydrogenase and aldehyde dehydrogenase, break down alcohol in the liver. In women, alcohol dehydrogenase in the stomach is less active than in men. This leaves 30-35% more unprocessed alcohol, which is absorbed in the small intestine. Once in the small intestine, the alcohol enters the bloodstream, which transports it to the liver.


A healthy adult metabolizes one drink in one hour. In case the amount per hour is higher, the excess alcohol returns to the bloodstream and increases its levels. This is accompanied by the characteristic behavioral and gastrointestinal manifestations.


Present in the bloodstream, alcohol can reach all tissues and organs, including the brain. Thus, our organs and tissues are exposed to the toxic effects of alcohol.

Myths about alcohol metabolism

  • Exercise will speed up the breakdown of alcohol. The muscles do not process it, but the liver
  • Drinking coffee will protect you from getting drunk. Coffee does not affect the absorption of alcohol.
  • Sauna and steam bath after a hard party will make you feel better. In fact, a negligible amount of alcohol is excreted through sweat. The greater amount is in the blood.
  • Herbal products and supplements will help break down alcohol. There is still no official evidence of drugs that support alcohol metabolism.


The key to maintaining acceptable blood alcohol levels is to drink while eating, drink slowly, no more than one drink per hour, and of course consume reasonable amounts.



This is an unpleasant condition after drinking large amounts of alcohol. It can last up to 24 hours. Symptoms include headache, nausea and vomiting, sensitivity to light, fatigue, muscle aches and severe thirst. Alcohol suppresses the release of hormones that regulate the normal formation of urine, increases the loss of electrolytes and fluids. Alcohol irritates the stomach and increases acid secretion.

The level of sugar in the blood decreases. 


There are plenty of recipes and tips for quick sobriety for which there is no hard evidence that they work. The best thing you can do is drink plenty of fluids to treat dehydration and eat sugary foods and drinks that will raise your blood glucose. Rest and sleep, if necessary you can drink painkillers that will relieve headaches.