Keeping your alcohol consumption in check is important for health, short term and long term. In the short term too much alcohol can affect the quality of your sleep, it irritates your digestive system, can increase your blood pressure, not to mention lost days due to hangovers! Excessive drinking in the long term puts you at risk of developing diseases such as cancer, pancreatitis, liver disease and heart disease. Sarah has written about her thoughts on giving up alcohol for a month previously on the blog.
A lot of people have the attitude that it won’t happen to me, so I often explain alcohol intake in the here and now…. in the number of calories they are consuming! I have put together an infographic to explain it better (below). If looking to lose weight, then calories from alcohol can easily be cut down on. We sometimes call them ’empty’ calories as they have no other nutritional value in them.
So if on a night out you drink 5 pints of beer, the calories would equate to 10 slices bread which is about half a loaf!
Ideas to keep your alcohol intake in check over the party season…
- Don’t drink on an empty stomach, enjoy your alcohol with a meal
- Try and drink a non-alcoholic drink alongside or in-between your alcohol (water ideally!)
- Drink lower strength alcohol
- Go for singles or smalls instead of doubles or larges
- Try not to get into buying rounds with friends as this puts pressure on your to drink more alcohol
- Let your friends know you don’t want to drink too much so they won’t encourage you to have more
- Don’t down your drinks, take time to sip and enjoy them
- Choose smaller glasses if you are having a drink at home so you are not tempted to pour large servings
- Try and stick to the guidance of 14 units, spread out over the week with some alcohol-free days.
Remember the if you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy then you should avoid alcohol altogether to decrease the risk of harm to the unborn baby.
The site Drink Aware has a great Unit and Calorie Counter. You add in how many drinks you have had in a week or a night and it works out how many units it was and how many calories you have consumed!
For more info on units of alcohol link through here. The amount and strength of the alcohol will affect the amounts of units you are drinking. The higher the strength of the alcohol, the more units it will be.
Enjoy the festive season, but also look after your body!
13th-19th November is Alcohol Awareness week run by the charity Alcohol Concern.