alcohol questions answered
  1. What are the physical effects of binge drinking?

Alcohol can be detrimental to your health if it is regularly consumed in LARGE amounts.  

Studies have shown that an excessive alcohol intake contributes to an increased risk of the development of cancer and alcoholic liver disease.  

Excessive alcohol can also contribute to the development of osteoporosis and worsen the symptoms of gout because of an increase of uric acid production.  

Three or more alcohol containing drinks a day can also increase blood pressure. 

Alcohol can have a negative effect on your nutritional status for a number of reasons specifically if you drink alcohol frequently and it is associated with a decreased food intake, which can cause malnutrition (this is often the case with alcoholics).  

Alcohol also reduces the absorption and use of certain vitamins and minerals. 

  1. What is the recommended alcohol intake?

The recommended intake of alcohol for women is 0-2 drinks per day and for men 0-3 drinks per day. 

One ‘drink’ is a unit of alcohol – i.e. 125ml wine/champagne; 1 tot spirits; 1 can beer/cider.

  1. If you are concerned about weight, what should you do on a night out drinking?

Alcohol itself is a high calorie food (7kcal per 1g alcohol – generally there are 10g of alcohol in one ‘drink’) which means that to calorie control the day you should take away some of your food for the day.  Ideally this should always be from supper first (as you need less energy in the evenings compared to the morning).  

I generally advise my clients to skip the carbs/starches at supper if they are drinking.  A good idea is to have supper before you go out for a night of drinking, and then make sure that you don’t eat anything else during the evening.

  1. What are some tips to help cut down your alcohol intake?
  •  Make a decision about what you will be drinking before you go out – when you have a plan, it is easier not to get carried away!
  • When you arrive at a function or restaurant ask for water first (make it sparkling for variation) and only start with the alcohol at a later stage
  • Make a wise decision about WHAT you will be drinking – sometimes it is better to have a spirit with a ‘free’ cooldrink (e.g. vodka and coke light or whiskey and water) instead of wine – if bottles of wine are being ordered, your glass will be constantly topped up and you easily lose track of how much you are drinking!
  • If you do want to drink wine, ‘dilute’ it with (sparkling or soda) water, ice cubes or sprite zero, and rather order your wine by the glass than ordering a bottle – make the excuse that you feel like a different wine
  • Similarly with beer or cider rather have a shandy
  • Get into the mindset that you are going out to socialize with your friends, not to get drunk!  You do not need alcohol to have a good time
  • Have an event planned for the following day – book a session with your trainer at the gym or organize a run with friends – you will WANT to drink less as doing these activities without a hangover is so much more pleasant.
  • Be the designated driver!

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