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Diet and Nutrition

Alcohol turning into sugar

01/28/2005

Question:

Does alcohol turn into carbohydrates when injested into your body. I do not understand how there can be no carb`s in Bacardi Rum. Please explain

Answer:

Alcohol is not considered a nutrient because it does not support the body's growth or maintenance, but it does produce about 7 calories per gram of alcohol.  After you drink alcohol, it is not digested; rather, it is absorbed from the stomach or small intestine directly into the bloodstream.  The liver oxidizes alcohol so that your body can eventually get rid it.  However, the liver can only metabolize a certain amount of alcohol at a time.  In the meantime, alcohol influences many organs and their ability to function properly, including the liver, gastrointestinal tract, heart, and brain.  Also, alcohol causes fat to be produced and deposited throughout the body's tissues (as in the liver).

Alcohol is fermented from carbohydrates (both starches and sugars).  Drinks differ in the amount of alcohol and carbohydrates that they contain.   For example, beer is about 3-4% alcohol; wines are about 7-15% alcohol; gin, vodka, and tequila are about 40-50% alcohol, while rum can be 100% alcohol.  The higher the percentage of alcohol, the lower is the percentage of carbohydrate in the drink. 

Our advice for those who drink alcoholic beverages is to only drink them in moderation (which is one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men).  And remember...don't drink at all if it puts you or others at risk.

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Response by:

Bonnie J Brehm, PhD, RD Bonnie J Brehm, PhD, RD
Professor of Nursing
College of Nursing
University of Cincinnati