Drinking alcohol is a social activity. People drink alcohol to celebrate or commiserate events. When consumed in the right amounts, drinking alcohol is a pleasurable experience. Alcohol is absorbed from the stomach into the bloodstream and affects the central nervous system, namely our breathing and heart rate, as well as how we think, feel, perceive things and behave.
However, alcohol is high in calories, has no food value; and if not used sensibly, can cause considerable harm to your health and general well-being.
What is alcohol ?
- Alcohol that is in the alcoholic drinks we drink comes from a chemical called ethanol.
- Alcohol is made from by grains, fruits or vegetables through a process called fermentation (when yeast or bacteria react with the sugars in food – the by-products are ethanol and carbon dioxide). The alcohol content of a drink is affected by how long it’s left to ferment.
- Wine and cider are made by fermenting fruit, while beer and spirits are made from fermented cereals such as barley and rye.
- Spirits also go through a process called distillation during which a proportion of the water is removed, leaving a stronger concentration of alcohol and flavour.
For more information see:
- Facts about alcohol
- Alcohol and your health
- Effects of alcohol on women
- Young people and alcohol
- Drinking and the Law
- How to cut down on alcohol
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