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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diet and Nutrition > Alcohol: Functions and Sources
      Category : Health Centers > Alcoholism


Alternate Names : ETOH

Alcohol | Functions and Sources

What food source is the nutrient found in?

Alcohol is made by mixing yeasts with certain sugars. The source of the sugars gives alcohols their unique tastes and odors. For example, vodka is made from potatoes, and wine comes from grapes.

Alcohol is a calorie-dense food. There are 7 calories in every gram of alcohol. In fact, it contains almost twice as many calories as carbohydrates or protein. Here is an idea how many calories are in some different types of alcohol:

  • 1 drink of beer (made from hops) = 12 ounces = 132 to 168 calories
  • 1 drink of 80-proof Scotch whiskey (made from barley) = 1.5 ounces = 98 calories
  • 1 drink of 100-proof whiskey = 1.5 ounces = 125 calories
  • 1 drink of wine (made from grapes) = 5 ounces = 85 to 145 calories, depending on proof and sweetness of the grapes
  • 1 drink of liqueur, also known as cordial = 1 ounce = 82 to 116 calories (depending on proof and any added sweeteners)
  • How does the nutrient affect the body?

    Unlike fat, protein, and carbohydrate, alcohol is not something the body needs to be healthy. In fact, in large doses, alcohol causes malnutrition. This is because it prevents nutrients from being absorbed. People who binge drink can develop an early stage of liver disease called fatty liver. If a binge drinker continues to abuse alcohol, alcoholic liver disease may develop. Cirrhosis is the most common type of liver disease in these cases. It is a chronic disease that causes liver cells to be destroyed. It can also result in loss of liver function.

    Alcohol affects the brain as well as the body. It acts as an anesthetic. This means it numbs the brain centers. First the emotion- and decision-governing centers are changed, then areas that govern muscle control. In the end, the centers that control breathing and heartbeat are affected.

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    Alcohol: Overview & Description


    Author: Clare Armstrong, MS, RD
    Reviewer: Kathleen A. MacNaughton, RN, BSN
    Date Reviewed: 09/30/02

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