NASM CNC Chapter 9: Alcohol

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Chapter Goals:

  • Explain the functions and structure of the alcohol.
  • Describe the absorption and digestion of alcohol.
  • Find other effects of alcohol.
  • Know the key myths or other hot topics regarding alcohol.
  • Find the methods for accommodating alcohol within a diet. 

Introduction

Ethanol is the form of alcohol that we take into the body in alcoholic beverages.

Alcohol is the most commonly consumed drug, with around 1.6 gallons consumed yearly per person over 15 years of age.

Other common alcohols are going to be isopropyl and methyl alcohol. These are used in medical settings only, as they are extremely toxic to the body. 

Alcohol Structure and Function

Ethanol is made from glucose, and the two are very similar in structure. Both glucose and alcohol comprise carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. Glucose has six carbons and five hydroxyl groups, and ethanol has two carbons and one single hydroxyl group. 

The metabolism of ethanol is not regulated through hormones and there is no storage area for ethanol in the body. 

Ethanol is not essential in any way in the body, and thus it will be seen as a threat to homeostasis. The body then is forced to remove it from the body rather quickly and in front of the prioritization of other macronutrients. 

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Alcohol Absorptions

When alcohol is taken in, some of it is immediately metabolized in the stomach lining by alcohol dehydrogenase. This is known as the first pass metabolism. The majority of the alcohol is actually going to be passed via the blood without being altered in any way. The alcohol reaches the small intestine and the stomach by pure diffusion alone. The solubility in ethanol water allows for diffusion to occur in most tissues. The absorption rate of alcohol depends on many factors like sex, body mass, the type of drink taken in, if your stomach is empty or not, and the speed through which the drinks are taken in.

Alcoholic beverages and food

It is somewhat true that you should not consume alcohol while you have an empty stomach. No food in the stomach is a main determinant of how quickly the alcohol will be put into the bloodstream. Food slows absorption but also increases the rate of metabolization of alcohol. 

Sex and body composition

The rate of metabolization and absorption is similar in males and females, but typically females will have a higher blood alcohol content due to many physiological differences. Males are usually about 68% water and females 55%.

Metabolism of Ethanol

When alcohol is in circulation through the body, 90% is metabolized by the liver by the ADH at around a quarter of an ounce per hour. The remaining 10% of alcohol is then released via breathing, sweat, and even through urine. 

The Dietary Impact of Alcohol

Programming alcohol into a diet is completely unnecessary, but we must consider it often due to alcohol being popular and socially acceptable. So, it is unrealistic now to expect it not to be present in someone’s diet somehow.

Alcohol Intake Guidelines

Alcohol, if it needs to be taken in, should be done so in very moderate consumption. Moderate drinking is seen as one standard drink with 0.6 ounces of ethanol for women and up to two for males. It is considered to. Be high risk drinking when a woman consumes four or more drinks per day or 8 or more drinks per week. For men, five or more drinks per day, and 15 or more in a week, is high risk drinking.  

Binge drinking is one single time of more than four or five standard drinks by either a male or female. 

Some harm to physical health

  • Behaviors relating to too much risk taking, possible injury, and death as a result. 
  • Unconsciousness.
  • Irritation of the gut and diarrhea. 
  • Inflammation of your pancreas.
  • Problems sexually.
  • Some harm to mental health
  • Suicidal thoughts and possible behaviors.
  • Increases in stress and aggravation in general.
  • Aggravation with sleeping disorders.

Defining a Drink

The alcohol content of alcoholic beverages ranges greatly, so it is important to note the percentages of alcohol contained in them. Beer is usually 4 – 5%, and spirits can be over 40%. 

Accommodating Alcohol into a Healthy Diet

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Some alcoholic beverages like beer will contain carbohydrates and some vitamins and minerals. Wine may have some polyphenols, flavonoids, and antioxidants. Ethanol, though, is just a source of empty energy essentially. 

So, once we have met our goals in terms of nutrition, we must consider these empty calories in our calorie goals.

Alcohol and Body Consumption

Ethanol may have some influence on body composition due to it being stored as fat. But this depends on a lot of things. 

Monitoring Alcohol Use

It is essential to know what your client drinks and takes in as far as alcohol goes. 

We use 3 questions to determine the alcohol consumption of someone. 

How often do you have a drink with alcohol in it?

How many drinks of alcohol do you have on a usual day?

How often do you have (5 for men and 4 for women or men over 65) or more drinks at once?

The Physiological and Health Effects of Alcohol

The recommendations for ethanol consumption at moderate levels come from detrimental acute and chronic physiological effects that ethanol has on the body. 

The regular consumption of moderate to harmful levels of ethanol is directly linked to more than 200 health conditions. 

Health Effects of Alcohol

  • Brain = hangovers, slowed reaction time, loss of memory, and headaches.
  • Lungs = infection increases, more risk for pneumonia.
  • Liver = scarring, organ failure, Cirrhosis.
  • Feet = Painful nerve problems, numb feelings, and tingling in the toes.
  • Throat = possible cancer.
  • Heart = heart failure chance, lowered heart rate, weakening of the heart.
  • Stomach Intestinetine = Burning, bleeding, ulcers, malnutrition, diarrhea, vomiting, severe swelling.
  • Hands = Trembling in your hands, numbness, and tingling in the fingers.

Effects on the Central Nervous System

The effects get worse as the blood alcohol content starts to go up. We see effects begin around 0.03 blood alcohol content. 

Effects on the Cardiovascular System

Drinking alcohol will increase acute effects on heart rate and slightly in blood pressure. 

Chronic consumption increases the risk of coronary artery disease and alcoholic cardiomyopathy.

Effects on Immune and Hormonal Function

Chronic consumption sees altered immune function. As shown in the infectibility of chronic alcoholics. So, it is very likely to see decreases in immune function.

Alcohol Myths and Hot Topics

Lots of misinformation exists about alcohol as it does with the other macronutrients. 

Ethanol Helps Protect the Cardiovascular System

Light to moderate consumption has been suggested to reduce mortality and prevent cardiovascular disease and strokes. So, daily consumption of wines is an actual recommendation made for a healthy diet. 

Drinking Ensures a Good Night’s Sleep

Alcohol seems like an ideal way to get a good night of sleep due to its depressant effects. But unfortunately, ethanol can negatively affect sleep quality and the REM cycle as a whole. 

Alcohol Improves Athletic Performance

Short duration events like sprints do not seem to be affected in any way, even with higher blood alcohol contents. 

NASM CNC Chapter 9: AlcoholNASM CNC Chapter 9: Alcohol 4
NASM CNC Chapter 9: AlcoholNASM CNC Chapter 9: Alcohol 5
NASM CNC Chapter 9: AlcoholNASM CNC Chapter 9: Alcohol 6
Tyler Read - Certified Personal Trainer with PTPioneer

Tyler Read


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2 thoughts on “NASM CNC Chapter 9: AlcoholNASM CNC Chapter 9: Alcohol”

    • Hey Mary, I do not have an option to print from the site, but you can print your webpage for each of the study guide pages and remove the parts you do not need. That is an excellent idea for future options for readers on the site and I will consider that. Have you been studying for your NASM CNC exam for a while? Do you have an exam date set yet?

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