How much is ok ?Back
Alcohol - how much is OK?
As with everything worth doing in is life, drinking alcohol is fine as long as it's in moderation.
Indeed moderate drinking of red wine particularly, has been found to have many positive effects in terms of antioxidant release (cancer fighting) and lowering of cholesterol and blood pressure.
There has been much media and government attention of late however, in the 'Drinking Culture' in the UK - the tendency for overindulgence especially among women. Alcohol Concern recently reported that the number of women consuming more than the weekly recommended levels increased by 70% between 1988 and 2002. With many women juggling busy lives having a drink is a way of relaxing and distressing.
So how much is OK? Men can drink up to 3 or 4 units of alcohol a day ( no more than 21 per week) without significant risk to their health.
Women can drink up to 2 or 3 units a day (no more than 14 per week).
A unit is half a pint of beer/lager, a small glass of wine or a single 25ml measure of spirits.
Why the Male/Female difference? Women are affected by alcohol more quickly than men and the effects last longer. This is because women are generally lighter and smaller than men, and have less fluid in their bodies to dilute the alcohol. Women also develop alcohol-related liver disease more quickly.
Health Issues When you drink alcohol is processed in the liver, which becomes overloaded if you drink too much. Your body processes a unit of alcohol per hour and if you exceed 2-3 units in a day you should avoid alcohol for 48 hours to let your liver recover. Excessive drinking over time can cause liver damage, high blood pressure and certain cancers, heart failure and osteoporosis.
Binge Drinking Bingeing is defined is 6 units in one session for women, 8 for men. In addition to resulting In about 25% of alcohol related deaths, binge drinking can cause weight gain and bad skin (from dehydration).
Alcohol is of course, just another source of energy for the body. Drinking too much therefore, can increase your weight - particularly around the abdominal area, as well as leading to other long-term health problems such as high blood pressure.
Consider drinking lower strength drinks, half pints instead of pints, spritzers or alternating alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic. Have at least two alcohol-free days a week Buy half bottles of wine for home. Avoid salty bar snacks as these make you more thirsty. Eat a proper meal before drinking - your body will absorb alcohol more slowly. Drink plenty of water before going to bed.