The story of alcohol and heart disease is clear cut, but some what complicated. I will outline the process that begins with drinking alcohol and ending in heart disease. There's no reason to fear anything that is consumed in moderation. The problem with alcohol and heart disease is the volume at which alcohol is consumed. Alcoholics have more to fear and it is not clear cut what defines alcoholism, but remember the more that is consumed the greater the risk of heart disease.
Once a serving of alcohol is consumed or drank. It quickly gets absorbed by the stomach. Travelling in the bloodstream some f the alcohol gets metabolized by the brain approximately 10% give or take of the amount drank. Resulting in the effects that alcohol gives and the reason why people drink it in the first place. The rest, 90% goes to the liver to be metabolized. It s the liver were most concerned with and the process that is necessary to rid the body of the alcohol.
The liver does 1 thing to the things we eat or drink. It metabolizes the food or drink in order to 2 things. To use it or gets rid of it. The liver doesn't identify which we eat or drink as good or bad it simply just does it thing. It follows 2 pathways "use it" pathway or "get rid of it" pathway. Now, this is over simplified but I want to make a point. The "use it" pathway is reserved for things the body needs, for instance, glucose (carbohydrates), fats and protein known as macronutrients. These macronutrients either get used up right away or stored in the liver or elsewhere to be used when needed. The use it pathway doesn't create any inflammation because the body needs it so it doesn't need to quickly get rid of it. Inflammation is marked by increased circulation and swelling and redness, that's full blown inflammation. The get rid of it pathway is the pathway that alcohol follows and generates inflammation enzymes in the liver. Remember now, that the liver has received 90% of the alcohol that was drank. That's just one drink most people do not drink just one drink, so hopefully you can see the issue. The "get rid of it" pathway is the pathway that the body doesn't use and tries to eliminate out of the body by creating it to be fat soluble or water soluble. Fat soluble is when it gets stored in the fat and water soluble (this is alcohols pathway) gets broken down to different enzymes until finally gets to a point where it can be flushed out of the body hence why when we drink alcohol we need to pee more frequently. The by-products of this pathway results in inflammation enzymes and creates triglycerides (fat). Without consuming a single gram of fat the liver just makes the fat and gets stored as such, hence why people that consumed large amounts of beer they get a "beer belly". So drinking alcohol is a high fat diet. Similarly, refined sugar (that is made of fructose and glucose) is a high fat diet. Fructose follows the "get rid of it" pathway in the liver and glucose follows the "use it" pathway. In refined sugar fructose can be used at all so 100% of it gets eliminated, but glucose gets used or stored as glycogen in the liver and used later. Fructose also produces triglycerides in the liver. Two food stuffs that has zero fat produces fat. See my point yet? Ok, back to alcohol.
The more alcohol you drink results in more and more inflammation and fat and cholesterol. The inflammation is not able to be measured at this time at the low levels I'm talking about but at the cellular level the inflammation is doing damage to the delicate lining of the arteries and veins causing a condition known as endothelial dysfunction. Endothelial dysfunction is the direct cause of heart disease resulting in more and more plaque being deposited in the arteries and veins. Remember that fat the alcohol made in the liver it has to travel somewhere to be stored and as it travels in the bloodstream. More and more of it starts to buildup on the arteries and veins already damaged by the inflammation. Resulting in arteriosclerosis or hardening of the arteries and finally resulting in a clot blocking all blood flow to the heart or brain or anywhere else it develops.
The get rid of it pathway is the same pathway used for everything the body doesn't need. It's the liver they does the sorting. The body needs carbohydrates, protein and fat and water. That's it, Everything else follows the get rid of it pathway. In every processed food there are chemicals, just read the labels, that the body doesn't need. The more stuff the you throw at the liver the harder it has to work creating more and more inflammation and more and more fat and cholesterol. It doesn't matter that you eat a low fat diet or not, the body is just going to make anyways. Drugs follow the same pathway as alcohol "the get rid of it" pathway. Resulting in the same thing. Think about everything you eat and drink if you didn't make it then there is chemicals the body doesn't need creating in more inflammation, fat and cholesterol without even consuming any fat or cholesterol.
So the next time you see someone with a beer belly note that it is nothing to joke about, that person is sick and needs to get help. Remember what I just told you that somewhere in their body plaques is building up and that person is a walking time bomb for heart disease.