Alcohol and Nutrition

  • Author:
    Betty Kovacs, MS, RD

    Betty is a Registered Dietitian who earned her B.S. degree in Food and Nutrition from Marymount College of Fordham University and her M.S. degree in Clinical Nutrition from New York University. She is the Co-Director and Director of nutrition for the New York Obesity Research Center Weight Loss Program.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Quick GuideAlcohol Abuse Pictures Slideshow: 12 Health Risks of Chronic Heavy Drinking

Alcohol Abuse Pictures Slideshow: 12 Health Risks of Chronic Heavy Drinking

What are the negative effects of too much alcohol?

Anyone who has ever experienced a hangover would agree that alcohol use doesn't always feel good. Unfortunately, most forget how bad it was and find themselves with a hangover more than once. The dangers can go far beyond that and do not only apply to those who drink excessive amounts.

The impact felt by alcohol begins quickly. As your BAC rises you will feel the effects of alcohol, which can include the following:

  • Reduced inhibitions
  • Slurred speech
  • Motor impairment
  • Confusion
  • Memory problems
  • Concentration problems
  • Coma
  • Breathing problems
  • Death

Long-term alcohol consumption can cause problems related to your brain, liver (cirrhosis, steatosis, alcoholic hepatitis, fibrosis), heart (high blood pressure, cardiomyopathy, arrhythmias, stroke), pancreas (pancreatitis), and immune system. It can also put you at risk for certain cancers, including those of the mouth, esophagus, throat, breast, and liver. It can cause fetal alcohol syndrome in the infant when consumed by pregnant women. There is no known safe level for alcohol consumption in pregnant and lactating women.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism,

  • nearly 88,000 people (approximately 62,000 men and 26,000 women) die from alcohol-related causes annually, making it the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States.
  • In 2013, alcohol-impaired driving fatalities accounted for 10,076 deaths (30.8 percent of overall driving fatalities) in the U.S. Continue Reading
Reviewed on 2/17/2016
References
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