How Excessive Alcohol Consumption Can Cause Type 2 Diabetes

Many times when the topic of alcohol is brought up, Diabetes is not part of the discussion. Thousands of people drink alcohol and not every one is aware of the risks and damage that will be done to the body. I write this essay in hope that I will educate you about one major side effect of consuming alcohol regularly/excessively, Diabetes Type 2.

Within the college and young adult community, drinking alcohol is a popular activity. Research shows that more that 80% of college students drink alcohol and almost half report binge drinking in the last two weeks. On average, young adults go away for college for 4 years to get their bachelor’s degree. That makes for many nights of partying and drinking.

Aside from all the negative results of drinking, like regrettable mistakes, hang overs, addiction and causing harm to our organs, one major issue stemming from alcohol is added sugar intake. Over loading your body with sugar isn’t an obvious problem to a lot of us. It is something we have to pay attention to, espically us young adults. We are working and going to school so naturally we are intaking more added sugar on a daily basis. We have a energy drink to start the day, some candy while studying, then of course who can resist dessert after dinner? Already, you have given your body more than enough sugar for the day. Then the party starts and the drinks start flowing.

More than likely you are going to have some soda with your mixed drink. The problem is that most of us aren’t going to have just one. Those who are addicted or binge drink daily have a higher risk for attaining a disease like Type 2 Diabetes than those who socailly drink. No one likes to consider themselves as a alcoholic or having a problem with moderate drinking. Most of the time, we don’t even realize how many drinks we had the night before. The night is going great and five hours later you have 6–8 mixed drinks, or more depending on the night.

Some back ground information for the suggested added sugar intake is:

For men the recommended limit per day of added sugar is 9 teaspoons.

For women it is 6 teaspoons.

For example, one glass of Rum & Coca-Cola contains 7 teaspoons of sugar, totaling 55% of your daily intake of added sugar. That is a large amount of sugar in one drink, make it two and you’re already past the daily intake guideline. That is just your beverages, not including the food you had throughout the day with added sugar.

Now you’re probably wondering, why should I be worried about this? As a young adult we assume we are healthy enough. You may be thinking, this is something older people should worry about. Since drinking is a growing epidemic, especially with young adults and college students, it is our problem too. With the amount of alcohol being consumed by young adults/college students it won’t take long before the damage sets in and we are left with long term effects, like Diabetes. Surveys indicate that around 19% of college students between the age of 18 and 24 meet the criteria for alcohol abuse or dependence. So, it is clear our generation is at risk and needs to be educated to help solve this increasing issue.

It is now time to educate you on how the body processes sugar and how alcohol is a large problem causing Diabetes Type 2.

Before sugar enters the bloodstream from the digestive tract, it is broken down into two simple sugars… glucose and fructose.

-Glucose is found in every living cell on the planet. If we don’t get it from our diet, our bodies produce it.

-Fructose is different. Our bodies do not produce it in any significant amount and there is no physiological need for it (added sugars).

When the body can’t make enough insulin or can’t use insulin, it is called diabetes. Insulin helps the cells in the body absorb glucose (sugar) for energy. Without insulin, glucose builds up in the blood resulting in high blood sugar.

Eating fruit and foods with naturally occurring sugar is fine for our body, it knows how to break in down and turn it into energy. But lets be honest here, most of us are consuming added sugar, not fruits with natural sugar.

When we ingest added sugars from sodas, candy, alcohol and other sweets it turns into fat in our liver because most of the time we already have enough glycogen from our daily diets.

Sugar is addictive by itself, so when paired with liquor it becomes double trouble for those who abuse alcohol.

Abusing alcohol (binge drinking or addiction) can cause Type 2 Diabetes. Alcohol contains ketones that replace the natural sugar our body produces. When our body is used to getting the sugar from alcohol, it eventually stops producing in naturally. Then when you don’t drink the alcohol your body isn’t producing glucose anymore, resulting in sickness. Many times consumers won’t notice a problem until they stop drinking for a day or two and their body starts reacting to Diabetic Ketoacidosis (a condition occurs when there isn’t enough insulin in the body) since the source was coming from the alcohol and the body isn’t producing it on its own anymore.

If you experience any of these symptoms on a weekly basis, please consult a doctor before the problem worsens.

Excessive alcohol use is severely damaging to the pancreas: a gland behind the stomach that produces the hormone insulin and secretes it into the bloodstream in order to regulate the body’s glucose or sugar level. Too much alcohol can cause chronic inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis), which can impair its ability to secrete insulin and ultimately lead to diabetes.

When people are addicted to alcohol and abuse it everyday our body is affected in many ways, but the pancreas and liver being damaged will lead to Diabetes.

A common misconception is the length of time it can take for alcohol to cause severe damage to the body like Type 2 Diabetes. As young adults we tend to think we are pretty invincible, but thats far from true. This is not an issue that only affects older people. The abuse may have only gone on for 5 years, and the next thing you know you are living with a disease. Five years isn’t very long, between the age of 18 when you enter college and 23 when you leave college, you can cause enough damage to your body through drinking alcohol that you end up with Diabetes. Although not everyone is going to have that reaction and side effect from consuming alcohol, everyone is at risk who abuses alcohol. Is it really worth it to put your body at risk, just for alcohol?

Because the pancreas is so versatile, once diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, it is possible to take care of your body and build your pancreas back up to proper function, which can result in not having Type 2 Diabetes anymore. In many cases that isn’t going to happen since the abuse usually consists of multiple years damaging the organs.

Type 2 Diabetes is a growing concern in the United Stats. Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the U.S. Around 29 million people in the U.S. have Diabetes and type 2 Diabetes accounts for approximately 90% off all Diabetes diagnosis. Since Type 2 is highly preventable, you can see how this is a large issue that needs attention.

As a community, if we don’t inform our peers or spread awareness about the harmful effects of alcohol, there is going to be continual damage done to our bodies. We can help reduce alcohol abuse along with Type 2 Diabetes rates in our country together. To help educate those around you, share with them information that you have about the harmful effects of alcohol. It is so imortant that everyone who drinks, does so in monderation.

Works Cited

Adrienne Santos-Longhurs. Healthline.com, type 2 diabetes statistics and facts. September 8, 2014. Web. March 13, 2016.

Gunnars,kris. Authoritynutrition.com, Daily intake of sugar. December 2015. March 13, 2016. Web.

Strauss, Valerie. April 9, 2013. How much do college students really drink? Washingtonpost.com, web. April 3, 2016.

Victor, anuciya. Dailymail.com, how much sugar does your drink really have. June 19, 2015. Web. March 13, 2016.

(Photo Credits)

Bondingwithfood.wordpress.com. Web. March 13, 2016.

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