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The science of nutrition and healthy eating
The science of nutrition and healthy eating

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8 Alcohol intake

Alcohol is a liquid, so should it be part of your fluid intake?

Although alcoholic drinks contain water, alcohol has a diuretic effect. Spirits and wines tend to dehydrate because there is a higher alcohol content and lower water content. Consider the alcohol content and the amount of water a full strength or low strength beer, lager and cider may have. Which one could hydrate more effectively? Technically the low strength as it has less alcohol content and more water. However, alcohol provides 7 kcal/g of energy and does contribute to your energy intake, as do some other energy-containing drinks. Alcohol may also increase your appetite in the short term. Alcohol goes to every cell in the body and can have physical and social effects. It can take approximately one hour to process one unit of alcohol until there is none left in your bloodstream. However, physiological factors can make this vary from person to person.

Overall, the content of alcohol in these drinks outweigh the beneficial hydration effects. Therefore, it is best not to use alcoholic drinks as part of your overall fluid intake.