As part of alcohol awareness week we’re busting some common drinking myths and providing information and tips to help you drink in a healthier way. Our aim is to help you reduce the common health impacts that are associated with drinking alcohol.
Myth busting: 5 common myths associated with drinking
1. Eating after drinking soaks up the alcohol and reduces your hangover
Eating after you have had an episode of drinking will do very little to reduce the hangover that you receive the next day. In fact, it could actually make you feel worse, because both alcohol and greasy food can contribute to acid reflux, which can cause heartburn, an unpleasant taste in your mouth and nausea.
2. Mixing alcohol with an energy drink makes you more drunk
The increase in energy that an energy drink creates from the caffeine rush can be interpreted as heightening your levels of intoxication. However this is not the case; instead the caffeine counteracts the sedative effects of alcohol, allowing you to carry on for longer than you may ordinarily.
3. The order that you drink alcohol in determines how hungover or unwell you’ll feel
In actual fact it’s the amount of alcohol you drink and the time you drink it in that matter more.
4. You sleep better after drinking
Alcohol can make you feel more tired and help you to get to sleep quicker due to its sedative effects. However, it interferes with the quality and restfulness of your sleep, leaving you more tired in the morning.
5. Occasional binge drinking won’t do any harm
Even a single episode of binge drinking can have serious long term effects on your body. Such effects include inflammation of the pancreas, stomach and liver. Not only this, but it puts you at risk of alcohol poisoning, choking and suffocation.
What does healthy drinking look like?
Moderate drinking for men over 65 and women of all ages means one drink a day and up to two drinks a day for men under the age of 65.
Examples of one drink include:Therefore, in total, we should be drinking no more than 14 units of alcohol per week. If you are going to drink up to this amount, it’s better to spread your units evenly over 3 or more days.
What is the real meaning of binge drinking?
Binge drinking is considered to be 6 units + per episode for women, and 8 units + for men.
Long-term health impacts
Drinking more than the suggested amount can lead to several long-term health impacts, which include:
- Damage to vital organs
- Long-term injuries from falls and accidents
- Stomach ulcers
- Raised blood pressure
- Brain damage
Know your limits
It’s important to know how much you’re drinking and how many units are in each drink. An easy way to track this is using the ‘Know Your Units’ app. Alternatively we’ve supplied a handy list of the units contained in the most common alcoholic drinks.
Tips for healthier drinking
- Avoid drinking more than 14 units a week
- When drinking, alternate with water to keep your body hydrated
- Have at least 2 alcohol free days a week
- Check the alcohol by volume (ABV) percentage and opt for a low alcohol content
- Avoid buying ‘rounds’ or ‘shouts’ and drink at your own pace; buying rounds
Managing your alcohol intake will help to ensure you have a healthy diet and lifestyle. If you’d like more information about eating a healthy and balanced diet, you can find out about our Eat Well Programme. You’ll get free appointments with our health and wellbeing coaches who can help you to improve your diet. Sign up to our Eat Well programme.