Neil Scobie
  Written by Neil Scobie - BScPharm Hons, MRPharmS - Pharmacist Consultant
 

 

The benefits of cutting down on alcohol

Alcohol plays a part in many people’s lives, with lots of people enjoying having a drink when socialising with friends, or perhaps to unwind after a busy day at work.   

Drinking sensibly and in moderation should not have any adverse health effects, however many of us drink more than we should.


Everything in Moderation

Drinking a couple of glasses of wine or a couple of cans of beer at home every evening or making a gin and tonic probably means you are drinking larger than pub measures. This can lead to drinking more than you realise. Cutting down on the amount you are drinking and trying to have a couple of alcohol free evenings will have both short and long term health benefits.

I have often come across customers who want advice on how they can get a better night’s sleep or are finding they are drinking more alcohol to deal with the stresses of live. This is a growing problem and cutting back on the alcohol can help. 

Short term benefits of cutting back are enjoying a better night’s sleep, feeling less stressed and not enduring handovers. Longer term, drinking less will reduce your risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, some types of cancer as well as reducing the pressure on your liver and your risk of developing liver disease.  

It is these longer term effects that we don’t think about, and often these conditions aren’t picked up until it is too late. 

If you enjoy having a drink, it is sensible to stick to the government’s lower risk drinking guidelines, which state that both men and women should limit themselves to no more than 14 units per week.

'Regular drinking’ means every day or on most days each week, and ideally we should all aim to have at least two alcohol free days each week.

‘Units’ can be confusing as the number of units in a drink will vary. For example, ‘a glass’ of wine can contain between one and three units depending on the type of wine and the size of the glass.

Alcohol is also loaded with calories. If you are trying to lose weight and it’s not working, it could be the hidden calories in alcohol that are to blame.

 

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