Alcohol; why does it cost women so much energy the day after?

Alcohol; why does it cost women so much energy the day after?

Last summer many sunny terraces came my way where I like to drink a glass of white wine in good company at the end of the day. I also like to drink a glass of wine with a nice dinner. Alcoholic drinks are a part of our Western society. Of course, we all know that you should not drink too much of it. In addition to the unpleasant feeling that a hangover can give you after having a little too much to drink, many women also experience other unpleasant effects of alcohol, often earlier than men.

They gain weight faster from alcohol, can’t sleep well, and suffer more from cellulite or from more menstrual complaints and pain. I notice after just one glass that I don’t feel great the next day. What are the consequences of a regular glass of alcohol for women? I decided to check it out last week.

A Few Facts About Alcoholic Beverage

First, a few facts about alcoholic beverages. A standard drink contains around 10 grams of alcohol. Standard means: if you drink wine neatly from a wine glass (about 100 ml with 10% alcohol), beer from a beer glass (250 ml at 5% alcohol), and spirits from a shot glass (35 ml with 35%), you get always about 10 grams inside.

Alcohol in the blood is measured in blood alcohol levels: after a glass of drink as mentioned above, the blood alcohol level in a woman will be about 0.3 and in a man slightly lower, 0.2. Men can process alcohol better and faster in their bodies than women. Below you can read how that happened. Participation in traffic is punishable by a blood alcohol level of 0.5. So for a woman no more than one and a half glasses of wine.

How much alcohol can you safely drink?

Alcohol; why does it cost women so much energy the day after?

In the USA, the official, latest guideline of the Health Council is that it is best not to drink alcohol at all and if you do, then no more than one glass a day, for both women and men. In addition, it is also advisable not to drink at all for a few days a week. Interestingly, the guideline for men has been lowered since 2006: at that time, two glasses a day were still being used for men. This has therefore been adjusted downwards due to new findings from research.

That means that one glass of wine will bring you to the limit! Many of us are quick to drink too much at a nice dinner party if you stick to that. Me too, I’m afraid.

What does alcohol do in our bodies?

One glass a day and not drinking a few days a week means a limit of 2 to 3 glasses per week. Why is it so bad anyway? This is because our body cannot excrete alcohol. It is a toxic substance that has to be converted by the liver into acetaldehyde, the nasty substance that, among other things, gives us headaches after a night of drinking too much.

Acetaldehyde is a toxic substance for our body itself, so it must also be broken down and removed. This requires substances such as enzymes (alcohol dehydrogenase and acetaldehyde dehydrogenase) and coenzymes (especially niacin, and vitamin B3).

The liver contains the necessary enzymes that can do the job of conversion at a rate of about 1 glass of drink per hour. How fast it goes exactly depends on your body size, your eating behavior and your overall health. So if you drink faster than your liver can work, it immediately causes problems, because then you not only get drunk, but the many other important tasks that the liver has to do as well.

Why are women more affected by alcohol?

Alcohol; why does it cost women so much energy the day after?

Women break down alcohol less quickly than men because they make less of the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase than men. This allows more alcohol to enter the bloodstream. With the same amount of alcohol, women, therefore, take in more alcohol than men of the same height and weight. Because on average women are also smaller and lighter than men, they experience the adverse effects even more. So what are these consequences?

Liver overload

As mentioned above, the liver ensures that the alcohol is the very first to be processed as quickly as possible. Your body wants to get rid of this toxic substance as quickly as possible. All other important processes that the liver has to deal with, such as energy metabolism in your cells, are stopped to get rid of the alcohol first. This can really overload the liver. Brace yourself for the consequences…

fatty liver

If your liver has to process alcohol a lot or often, this can lead to, among other things – through complicated processes that I will spare you here – that an excess of fatty acids accumulates in the liver. Your liver is so busy processing the alcohol that the fatty acids are no longer properly converted and removed. The accumulation of fatty acids can eventually lead to the so-called fatty liver. This is a serious condition that is especially common in alcoholics. Fatty liver can also be ‘non-alcoholic’, then it has other causes. You can read more about this in my blog about fatty liver.

Alcohol disrupts energy production

Alcohol; why does it cost women so much energy the day after?

The processes that take place to remove alcohol require substances that are also very important for making energy (ATP) in the cells of our body, especially the coenzyme niacin or vitamin B3. The bottom line is that all niacin is used in alcohol metabolism. The production of energy, or the energy metabolism, which takes place in the mitochondria of our cells, is slowed down and disrupted by the priority given to the alcohol metabolism. The all-important process of energy production is thus disrupted by alcohol. Drinking alcohol literally costs you energy! Even if you don’t have a hangover, you never feel completely optimal the next day.

Increase cholesterol and estrogen

Also, substances such as estrogens and cholesterol do not get any attention from the liver when it is busy with alcohol. This leads to the fact that these substances, instead of being broken down as they should after use, are reabsorbed into our bodies. This leads to elevated cholesterol levels and also high estrogen levels, resulting in increased estrogen dominance. An excess of certain types of estrogen can, among other things, be a factor in the development of breast cancer. There is also evidence that alcohol may be a factor in the development of other types of cancer.

And some other drawbacks

And that’s not all. Many other bodily processes can also be disrupted by alcohol. For example, it leads to slower gluconeogenesis, which means that less glucose can be made from other substances in the body. This can lead to a blood glucose level that is too low, resulting in damage to the nervous system, among other things. The production of proteins and amino acids is also disrupted by alcohol so that less muscle building can take place.

Are there also advantages?

Well, it seems best not to drink alcohol at all if you read the above. Nevertheless, the Health Council’s 2015 Guidelines for Good Nutrition also states that other research shows that moderate consumption of 1 glass of alcoholic drink per day can actually lead to a reduction in the risk of a number of chronic diseases, such as heart and heart disease.

vascular disease, dementia, and diabetes 2. According to this report, it seems that alcohol also has a beneficial effect on the action of insulin. But whether this outweighs all the disadvantages… The science is not yet out. You may choose.

Never drink again?

Alcohol; why does it cost women so much energy the day after?

All things considered, I think it’s good to be very moderate with alcohol. In any case, we don’t need it as a nutrient, on the contrary! If you do like to drink a glass now and then, make sure you don’t do it on an empty stomach, because that speeds up the absorption of alcohol and slows down its processing.

Carbohydrates slow down the absorption of alcohol and high-fat snacks cause slower intestinal peristalsis; they both ensure that you are less bothered by the effects of drinking alcohol. If your stomach is full of food, the alcohol can less easily reach the intestinal wall and pass through it, so that it has a little less influence on the brain. And above all, drink water.

Why are you actually drinking?

Alcohol; why does it cost women so much energy the day after?

You can also check for yourself whether you are really hungry for that glass of wine, or whether it is more about a moment of relaxation or fun with others. Many women drink alcohol to relax more easily. Are you tired? Then go to bed early without alcohol more often or find other ways to relax. Do you care about the fun? Then focus on the people around you and experience the fun you have with them.

Stay aware and enjoy their company with an alcohol-free drink. Do you drink every day out of habit? This is a learned behavior that you can unlearn. Do you seem to have a lot of trouble with that? Then face this and seek help. Hidden alcohol addiction among women is a growing phenomenon. Alcohol really destroys more than you would like. Take control of your life. You can decide at any time of your life to take a different path. Really, any time!


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