Having read the question Is drinking alcohol a form of energy intake?, an answer cites the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition which claims Alcohol has a 'metabolic energy' (ie energy that gets digested into the human body). Sadly the link is dead and I can't find the information nor its sources.

All the papers or information I can find on metabolism of alcohol cite numerous pathways, but in my relatively amateurish reading, I can't see how any of these eventually lead ethanol into becoming glucose. Assuming it's true, how does it happen?


1 Answer 1


Each gram of ethanol provides 7 Calories of energy (which isn't surprising given that fermenting 2 grams of sugar produces 1 gram of ethanol).

Overview: How Is Alcohol Metabolized by the Body? lists many pathways, but as you say, none of them lead to glucose.

But there is no need for it to directly produce glucose.

Consider fructose. When it gets digested, unlike all the other carbohydrates, it is not converted into glucose. Instead it is metabolized into a lipid. When the blood lipid level become higher than a certain concentration, those lipids are converted into fat and stored in the adipose tissue.

Only if the glucose level in the blood becomes too low will the liver convert the lipids into glucose.
(Moral: if you just drank a high fructose soft drink and you don't feel hungry before your next meal, that fructose will be adding to your weight, not to your energy.)

But, glucose isn't the only source of energy for the body's cells.
The cited paper mentions glucose only once, and that is in connection with alcoholism:

It is hypothesized that upon chronic alcohol intake the brain starts using acetate rather than glucose as a source of energy.


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