Alcohol and Nutrition


Alcohol can affect people’s eating habits and their ability to absorb the nutrients in food which are essential for health.

Heavy drinking can particularly affect the body’s ability to absorb Thiamone (Vitamin B1). Being deficient in Thiamine can negatively affect the heart, liver, organs, nerve tissue and muscles. It can also cause anaemia. A lack of B1 can bring on Korsakoff’s Syndrome – a serious illness which causes muscle twitches, confusion and potential long-term damage.

Those who drink heavily can also be deficient in vitamin A, which is essential for disease-fighting and good vision, especially in the dark. Excessive alcohol consumption can also have an impact on the absorption of Vitamin C which can also bring on anaemia or over-stimulate the adrenal gland.

Alcoholics often stop eating properly so their body doesn’t get the required nutrients. It can also lead to unhealthy weight loss. Conversely, heavy drinking can also lead to weight gain. Alcohol has lots of ‘empty calories’ which can cause weight gain and unnecessary strain on the body’s organs.

Alcohol can also stimulate the appetite and research has shown that people are likely to eat more food when it’s combined with alcohol. They often don’t adjust their calorie intake to balance the alcohol out (and this is likely to be unhealthy anyway). In addition, hangovers often cause cravings for unhealthy and fattening food.

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