As Christmas is rolling around we can’t ignore the fact that the festive season is getting into full swing.
Naturally this means more mince pies, more office chocolate and more celebrations involving alcohol. Now at The Transformation Chef we really are all about balance so fear not, by reading on we won’t completely destroy what may your idea of fun. To us balance is very much about eating a healthy diet 80-90% of the time and enjoying some indulgences 10-20% of the time. As it’s Christmas time the indulgences are more likely to be leaning towards the 20% mark and that’s fine. Afterall life is for enjoying yourself too!
We also totally appreciate that alcohol isn’t everyone’s idea of fun which is why we’ll also leave you with some alternative ideas so you can get just as involved over Christmas.
Whilst there has been some discussion about red wine being good for the heart the truth is you’d have to drink a considerable number of bottles (yes bottles) to gain significant benefits. Disclaimer: we don’t advise you do this. So really, yes there are some benefits, we don’t need to justify our alcohol intake with them. As we are all about education we wanted to inform you of some of the effects of over consuming alcohol (note: over consuming).
The Physical Effects Of Alcohol
Ironically these immediate physical effects are often the draw towards the drinks in the first place. We’re talking blurred vision, slurred speech and impaired muscle function. These are the effects which often draw us to the escapism which occurs when alcohol is abused. However, it’s longer term effects which could be taking a toll on our health. Research has suggested that there are two key aspects to drinking; the first is the volume of alcohol consumed and the second is the pattern of drinking. It’s no secret that alcohol consumption is linked to weight gain, liver disease, cancers, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Although what you might not be aware of is that it appears that the pattern of drinking may be the key player in the increased risks of these diseases. Let us explain… Those who undertake regular heavy drinking sessions (which involves drinking around six drinks or more in one session) are at a greater risk of the diseases listed above than those who drink moderately more regularly. Aka one drink a few nights per week.
The reason for this is that when you consume a large amount of alcohol in one sitting (aka when you binge drink) a large amount of alcohol is forced upon your metabolism at any given time. As the body can only metabolise (on average) around 1 unit of alcohol per hour, any more than this consumed regularly at a faster rate may pose some serious health risks. In addition to this, you should be aware that as the body views alcohol as a toxic substance it requires large amounts of nutrients to metabolise your drinks. As a result, your body is often left depleted of nutrients and this can explain your morning hangover.
We’re aware that weight is everything but it is something to be aware of and we can’t ignore this subject when we’re discussing alcohol. Weight gain is a risk when it comes to alcohol consumption not only due to the empty calories (therefore a heavy drinking session can quickly add up) but alcohol also stimulates appetite and plays havoc on your blood sugar regulation. It’s what’s consumed in your munchie session whilst you’re intoxicated which poses further risk of weight gain. We’re talking about the burgers, fries and anything else that get’s consumed during your fridge raid.
We did promise some advice for those of you looking to cut down on your alcohol consumption or go #alcoholfree this Christmas…
Opt for alcohol free wines, beers and spirits.
These drinks are a great way to get into the spirit of Christmas without feeling like you need to get completely intoxicated.
Go for a jazzed up sparkling water.
No-one wants to stand at a party holding a glass of sparkling water so instead ask for it in a wine glass with some lime, mint and an orange slice on the side and all of a suddenly you’ve got something that’s a bit more enticing.
Switch up your social events.
Of course there will be parties which you’ll have to attend but if the girls or your guy group suggest a drinks in the evening why not suggest a weekend brunch? This way it’s much easier for you to limit your alcohol consumption.
World Health Organization, & World Health Organization. Management of Substance Abuse Unit. (2014). Global status report on alcohol and health, 2014. World Health Organization.
Shield, K. D., Parry, C., & Rehm, J. (2014). Chronic diseases and conditions related to alcohol use. Alcohol Research: Current Reviews, 35(2), 155.