Alcohol is an interesting dietary component. This simple molecule can be used as a model to underline the different modalities of nutrition, manufacturing, social, genetic predisposition and gender differences in metabolism, nutritional value and the consequences of excess.
Alcohol is created when grains, fruits, or vegetables are fermented. Fermentation is a process that uses yeast or bacteria to change the sugars like glucose, fructose, and sucrose into alcohol. (Principles of human nutrition-Martin Eastwood).
The popularity of alcohol results from its effects on mood and an induced sense of well-being. Alcohol is a part of everything, from family dinners to parties, to sporting events and nightcaps. The problems associated with alcoholism are well known, but what about the impact of social drinking or a moderate intake of alcohol? Does alcohol belong in our diet, or does the risk that it presents outweigh any benefits that may be derived from consuming it?
Good nutrition can help to improve your health and prevent diseases. The nutrients that your body needs are carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins, minerals, and water. Some people feel that alcohol is another necessity in their diet, while others feel that any amount is toxic and needs to be avoided.
The key to determining whether you need alcohol is to understand what alcohol is and how it is processed in your body. Calories provide energy for our bodies to function. We get calories from carbohydrates, protein, fat, and alcohol. For each gram, you get a set number of calories. Like, Carbohydrates (1 gm) – 4 calories, Proteins (1 gm) – 4 calories, Fats (1 gm) – 9 calories, Alcohol (1 gm) – 7 calories.
The vitamin, mineral, and water content add to the nutritional value for each of these energy sources but do not provide any calories. A food is considered to be a source of "empty calories" when there are no other nutrients present besides the nutrient that provide the calories.
Alcohol is considered to be a source of empty calories because it provides only negligible amounts of vitamins and minerals. Due to the fact that alcohol often replaces nutrient-rich food and directly interferes with the body's absorption, storage, and use of nutrients, it has also been called the "antinutrient nutrient."
Alcohol can also be classified as a drug. Under this category, it is the most widely used drug in the world. Approximately 10 to 15 million Americans are alcoholics or problem drinkers, and more than 100,000 deaths each year are attributed to alcohol consumption. The majority of the population consumes alcohol moderately or occasionally. The potential to become addicted to alcohol is a serious problem that warrants limitations on its consumption.