Below are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about alcohol and the effects of drinking alcohol.

Are you not sure about the effects of alcohol on your organism or of its presence in one’s bloodstream? Would you like to know if alcohol is beneficial to your health? Would you like to find out why you can feel so miserable after a night of heavy drinking? This easy-to-read section provides useful answers to the most frequently asked questions about alcohol intake.

Below you will find information about:

  • What are the effects of drinking alcohol?
     When you drink a glass of beer, wine or spirits, the alcohol which the latter contain enters into your bloodstream through the digestive system and travels around the body in only a few minutes. However if you have food in your stomach, this process slows down. In any case, when alcohol reaches the brain it affects all the body’s control centers leading to intoxication. In general terms, the amount of alcohol found in a normal size drink (25cl of beer with 5% alcohol content) will be “burnt” within one and half to two hours of its ingestion.
  • Does the time it take for people to “burn” alcohol differ from one person to another? Can one single glass of beer be too much?
    It takes just about the same time for most people to “burn” alcohol, that is, around two hours for a normal size drink. However, certain health conditions or medication may delay this “burning” process and create alcohol levels in the blood which are above the average following the ingestion of one or more drinks. Frequent alcohol consumption does not affect the speed of its absorption. Body weight and gender play the most important role in this. On the other hand, people who drink on a regular basis tend not to notice so much the effects of alcohol as opposed to people who are not regular drinkers. In fact, we all “experience” alcohol in different ways.
  • What is considered as a safe alcohol amount?
    Exceptions granted two drinks a day should not cause any adverse effects in most adult men. Most women and older people can safely have one drink a day (one drink shall be considered as a 33cl beer bottle, a 14cl glass of wine or a 4 cl shot of spirits). However, there are people who should not drink under any circumstances as it may represent a serious risk hazard. Among these are people who will be driving or undertaking any activity that requires vigilance, coordination and balance, people with health problems, pregnant women (and women who are planning to get pregnant) as well as people who are under the legal drinking age.
  • Is alcohol good for the heart?
    According to studies, adults who drink moderately (two drinks a day for men and one for women) are less likely to suffer from coronary diseases than those who drink more than the recommended amount or do not drink at all. However, research continues and consumers and teetotalers are not advised to drink more for health reasons.
  • What are the effects of alcohol on a full or empty stomach?
    With a full stomach, the journey which alcohol takes until it reaches the large intestine takes place at a slower pace, thus helping to reduce alcohol absorption. Hence, after eating the effects of alcohol will probably take longer to show and the level of alcohol in the blood will not be as high as when drinking on an empty stomach. On the other hand, alcohol will take longer to be eliminated from the body if a person’s stomach is empty.
  • Is it safe to drink while pregnant?
    The best thing is to completely avoid drinking alcohol during pregnancy. Alcohol may have different prejudicial effects on a fetus. Small amounts, like a small glass of beer once or twice a week, may not be harmful, but since there is not a confirmed safe amount, it is wise to totally avoid drinking alcohol during pregnancy or if you are planning to get pregnant.
  • How much can one safely drink before doing exercise?
    No alcohol should be consumed in these circumstances as exercise and alcohol do not go together. With only one or two glasses of beer or wine one’s concentration, coordination and vision is affected and impaired. In addition to this, sensitivity to pain decreases increasing the probabilities of injury. So if you are planning to exercise, don’t drink for your own sake and that of others.
  • Will coffee lead to sobriety?
    No. Drinking coffee never leads to sobriety! It has no impact whatsoever on the speed at which the body absorbs alcohol. It simply leads to dehydration of the body and to an increased number of times in the toilet. The truth without euphemisms is: the only way of staying sober is to stop drinking and let the body do the rest.
  • What is a hangover?
    Alcohol starts by sedating the body only to irritate it afterwards. Hence, a night of serious drinking always results in an unpleasant morning. Alcohol irritates the body in various ways. It suppresses the hormones that inhibit urination, which means that you will have to visit the toilet more often, leading to dehydration. And when you wake up, you have a terrible indisposition: headache, nausea, tremors, dry mouth, terrible thirst and other painful and unpleasant symptoms. This is a hangover.
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