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Effect of alcohol on your system

Alcohol is broken down in your liver, but up to a quarter is absorbed into your bloodstream before it gets to your liver (which detoxifies your system of alcohol through a series of biochemical processes). The liver works on metabolising alcohol first, as your body sees it as a poison, so it makes that process a priority. While it is busy doing that, your body doesn’t properly regulate blood sugar levels. This can be a major problem if you also have issues with insulin or diabetes.

How does it affect your digestive tract? It inflames it – plus makes you more susceptible to reflux as it relaxes the valve at the top of your stomach. Effect on the microbiome of your gut can also be profound. Alcohol can influence the balance of bacteria, which may be linked to other gut issues.

How does alcohol affect your weight? According to a study done in 2010, alcohol may lead to fat-sparing (you don’t burn it as easily), plus is often linked to poor food choices and binge eating – basically, it appears to increase your appetite due to its effect on brain pathways – such as the neurotransmitters and enzymes that tell your body you feel good or are full. Drinks such as beer, wine and cocktails provide more caloric energy than some other alcoholic drinks, which is likely to also contribute to weight gain – even at “social” consumption levels. Generally, alcohol appears to increase appetite, but inhibit the mechanisms telling us when we are full, leading to weight gain.

Food for thought….

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