Alcohol costs students more than just money

Pint night, Mug night, Friday after class; the list is endless of opportunities for students to drink for cheap. The price most pay for a night of drinking comes in more forms than money spent. Alcohol is immediately absorbed in the esophagus and bloodstream where it begins to alter simple brain functions.

Alcohol begins to work from the front of your brain to the back, affecting the frontal lobe first, the area responsible for decision-making. 

“You know that inappropriate joke you weren’t going to tell, well then you go ‘Yeah, I think I’ll tell that joke now?’’’ says Denise Denton, senior lecturer in Kinesiology.

The frontal lobe is responsible for higher level thinking and expressive language, so consumption of alcohol causes slurred speech and the inability to organize cognitive thoughts.

Then, the alcohol’s effects move back to where the brain processes the body’s senses, says Denton. This causes one to be unable to pass a standard sobriety test.

As the night progresses, Welch Avenue begins to fill with roaming intoxicated individuals and language skills begin to diminish, memories are not stored, and visual interpretation is affected. This is the point at which some find themselves in a regrettable situation with someone that will look a bit different in the morning, unable to recall exactly what had occurred or how it occurred.

“Drinkers had significantly higher intakes of total calories than nondrinkers,” says a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Say hello to the “freshman 15.”

“The liver will work to metabolize alcohol since it is toxic to the liver. … Since alcohol contains calories it can lead to caloric excess, which can lead to weight gain,” said Elaine Waldschmitt, registered dietitian from Des Moines.

“Alcohol is metabolized in the body totally differently than the carbohydrates, proteins and fats,” Waldschmitt said.

If you find yourself thinking, “Oh, well I’ll just burn those calories off at the gym,” think again.

An increased consumption of alcohol can result in a decrease in your body’s efficiency in burning fat. Alcohol reduces the body’s ability to oxidize lipids, thereby favoring fat storage, according to a study in the New England Journal.

Remember the cut, six-pack abs you had freshman year? After four years of drinking, this is why your six-pack has turned into a beer belly.