Alcohol (wine, beer, whiskey, vodka)
Alcohol is a depressant. However, it has its own category due to the capacity The type of alcohol in alcoholic drinks is a chemical called ethanol. To make alcohol, you need to put 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). Alcohol is a depressant derived from the fermentation of natural sugars in fruits, vegetables and grains. These are brewed and distilled into a wide range of beverages with various alcohol contents.
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In a medical context, alcoholism is said to exist when two or more of the following conditions is present: a person drinks large amounts over a long time period, has difficulty cutting down, acquiring and drinking alcohol takes up a great deal of time, alcohol is strongly desired, usage results in not fulfilling responsibilities, usage results in social problems, usage results in health problems, usage results in risky situations, withdrawal occurs when stopping, and alcohol tolerance has occurred with use.
Do you feel like you may be drinking too much? How much is too much? Take this quiz to find out where you stand in terms of high risk drinking.
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Beer is made by fermented cereals such as barley and rye, which form the basis of beer and spirits. The amount of alcohol in a drink is shown as a percentage of the whole drink. On all alcoholic drinks you’ll see the Alcohol by Volume (ABV). Beer that says 5% ABV on its label contains 5% pure alcohol.
There are four types; alcohol-free, de-alcoholised, low-alcohol and alcoholic beer.
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Wine is an alcoholic beverage made from grapes, fermented without the addition of sugars, acids, enzymes, water, or other nutrients. There are different types of wine including white, red, and rose. Yeast consumes the sugar in the grapes and converts it to ethanol and carbon dioxide. Different varieties of grapes and strains of yeasts produce different styles of wine.
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A standard glass of red or white wine (175ml) with 13% ABV could also contain up to 160 calories, similar to a slice of Madeira cake. Often when sharing wine, we assume we’re drinking less calories but a bottle of 13% ABV wine shared between two could mean you are consuming 340 calories each, that’s the equivalent of a chocolate croissant each.
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Vodka’s ABV will tell you how strong it is. Look out for the ABV on the label, which shows what percentage of the drink is alcohol. For example, a vodka and coke made with 40% ABV vodka contains 40% pure alcohol. The higher the percentage, the more alcohol is in the drink.
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Whiskey has a higher Alcohol by Volume (ABV) than most other alcoholic drinks and are often around 35-40%. In comparison beer is often around 5% ABV.
A single measure of whiskey with an ABV of 40% contains one unit of alcohol, which means that drinking more than 14 single measures of whisky in a week would put you above the guidelines.
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