An alcoholic beverage is a drink containing ethanol, commonly known as alcohol. Alcoholic beverages are divided into three general classes: beers, wines, and spirits (or distilled beverage). They are legally consumed in most countries, and over 100 countries have laws regulating their production, sale, and consumption. In particular, such laws specify the minimum age at which a person may legally buy or drink them. This minimum age varies between 16 and 25 years, depending upon the country and the type of drink. Most nations set it at 18 years of age. The production and consumption of alcohol occurs in most cultures of the world, from hunter-gatherer peoples to nation-states. Alcoholic beverages are often an important part of social events in these cultures. Alcohol is a psychoactive drug classified as depressant. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) recently redefined the term "binge drinking" as any time one reaches a peak BAC of 0.08% or higher as opposed to some (arguably) arbitrary number of drinks in an evening. A high blood alcohol content (BAC) is usually considered to be legal drunkenness because it reduces attention and slows reaction speed. However, alcohol can be addictive known as alcoholism. Health effects of moderate drinking
In a 2010 long-term study of an older population, the beneficial effects of moderate drinking were confirmed, but abstainers and heavy drinkers showed an increase of about 50% in mortality (even after controlling for confounding factors). Ethanol has been found to double the lifespans of worms feed 0.005% ethanol but does not markedly increase at higher concentrations. Diabetes
Daily consumption of a small amount of pure alcohol by older women may slow or prevent the onset of diabetes by lowering the level of blood glucose. However, the researchers caution that the study used pure alcohol and that alcoholic beverages contain additives, including sugar, which would negate this effect. People with diabetes should avoid sugary drinks such as dessert wines and liqueurs. Heart disease
Main article: Alcohol and cardiovascular disease
Alcohol consumption by the elderly results in increased longevity, which is almost entirely a result of lowered coronary heart disease. A British study found that consumption of two units of alcohol (one regular glass of wine) daily by doctors aged 48+ years increased longevity by reducing the risk of death by ischaemic heart disease and respiratory disease. Deaths for which alcohol consumption is known to increase risk accounted for only 5% of the total deaths, but this figure increased among those who drank more than two units of alcohol per day. One study found that men who drank moderate amounts of alcohol three or more times a week were up to 35% less likely to have a heart attack than non-drinkers, and men who increased their daily alcohol consumption by one drink over the 12 years of the study had a 22% lower risk of heart attack. Daily intake of one or two units of alcohol (a half or full standard glass of wine) is associated with a lower risk of coronary heart disease in men over 40, and in women who have been through menopause. However, getting drunk one or more times per month put women at a significantly increased risk of heart attack, negating alcohol's potential protective effect. Increased longevity due to alcohol consumption is almost entirely the result of a reduced rate of coronary heart disease. CHEMICAL
A substance with a distinct molecular composition that is produced by or used in a chemical process. Chemical substances (also called pure substances) may well be defined as "any material with a definite chemical composition" in an introductory general chemistry textbook. According to this definition a chemical substance can either be a pure chemical element or a pure chemical compound. But, there...