Alcohol is sold in nearly every market, convenience store, and club across America. But most of those who drink alcoholic beverages do not know what alcohol really is and therefore how it works inside the body.
Alcohol’s scientific name is ethanol. Ethanol is in a family with other similar organic chemicals like methanol and isopropanol. Alcohol-related chemicals usually end in “itol” or “anol.”
For example, sugar alcohols always end in “itol.” Xylitol, sorbitol, and maltitol are used in place of sugar, as sugar-free substitutes, in diabetic candies, sugar-free gum, and no-sugar-added ice cream. These sugar alcohols are very hard to digest, so they do not impact the blood sugar.
Sugar alcohols may cause some serious indigestion, when consumed in sufficient quantities, but they will not cause intoxication. Ethanol works differently. It is a clear liquid that is both flammable and volatile.
Ethanol is soluble in water, meaning it blends readily with water, and is thus mixed in a tremendous variety of tinctures, colors, and flavors. Ethanol is made of carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen (C2H50H).
Because of its ready absorption in the body and its ability to blend with water, alcohol soaks into not just the blood, but also water-filled tissues like muscle and organs. Studies show that alcohol spreads evenly through the blood, once absorption is complete.