The ethanol in drinks comes from the fermentation of vegetable sugars and has been present in the human diet for as long as records go back. Consuming alcohol is therefore a natural part of the human diet and energy can be obtained from its consumption. Each gram of ethanol provides 7 kcals and if alcohol is regularly consumed these can contribute significantly to total energy intake. There is a general opinion that alcohol consumption causes weight gain, and there may be some element to truth in this. In particular, food habits associated with alcohol consumption are evidenced to lead to weight gain, particularly carbohydrate consumption. However, the literature consistently shows that those with the highest alcohol consumption have the lowest body weights, and so clearly there are other factors that affect the relationship. Certainly moderate alcohol consumption has been evidenced to provide benefits to the cardiovascular system, something that would not be evident if the alcohol caused weight gain.
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