10 facts about drinking alcohol
As someone who now does not drink because of my liver disease I am often asked for 10 facts about drinking alcohol.
I guess I have had to educate myself on alcohol and why even as a social drinker it contributed so much to liver damage combined with genetics and stress.
Having said that I try to make it at least lighthearted after all if I push you about alcohol intake you would push back so I try keep it upbeat.
After all it’s your choice about how much you drink and what your choices are.
Having said that I don’t hide behind the truth either in 10 facts about drinking alcohol.
It causes weight gain
Yes it can pile on the weight but it’s not just the alcohol as many people think. Remember as we drink our habits change and I don’t think this is in any traditional diet program or book.
Authors will talk about how many so called points a glass of wine but they never mention the kebab or burger after an evening of drinking.
There is a good reason for this and it is one of the urban myths that probably has some truth inside of it.
Drinking on an empty stomach is not a good idea. It causes us to get very drunk very quickly as without lots of carbs in the stomach the alcohol hits the bloodstream really fast.
Never drink on an empty stomach as a saying really is true!
Not only that but after we have drunk alcohol we confuse dehydration for hunger as alcohol makes us thirsty. It is one of the reasons why we get a hangover after drinking and is the cause of that really bad banging in our head.
So yes alcohol contains so called empty calories with no nutritional value but also it increases our desire for food and of course the two combined gives us an “inch on the hips as they say.”
It can be stress relieving but only short term
There is now strong evidence that alcohol can help with stress after a few drinks but only a few.
This long term does nothing for our mental health. I know as a coach people often try and deal with the symptom rather than the cause which is where the excessive alcohol can come in.
Drinking seems to make the problem go away except it does not.
It makes it worse!
So a late night glass of wine after a tough day at work or a relationship issue can end up being a bottle and well you know the rest of the story.
Even many doctors say a glass of wine can aid relaxation and I am sure that is right however one thing can lead to another and we would end up drinking to sort an issue rather than just to relax.
Having said that, we know that the social aspect of drinking can be a real health benefit in moderation so it’s a real balance. People like being around people. Humans are interactive characters.
My preferred program for alcohol reduction are my friends at hypnosis downloads and I rate them 10/10 with Mark and the team there. I have included an affiliate link below which helps support the blog but if you sign up you pay the same.
It really is very good and you can use it on a tablet, mobile or desktop. It also works for chocolate by the way!
It’s all about the ABV
What is abv?
It actually stands for alcohol by volume and it has been a life saver for me but it has many uses whether you drink excessively or not. It can be used to not only tell you how much alcohol is in your drink but it can also help you know if it’s calorific or not.
However, that is not always the case as high level spirits in terms of alcohol can be low carb and therefore less calorie so it’s really the full sugar in the mixer that puts pay to the diet.
However, if you are avoiding alcohol because you can’t don’t or choose not to drink (and it may just be a driving issue) then ABV is a great way to cross-check alcohol content.
It is also a useful guide to how quickly the alcohol could hit your bloodstream! I don’t think a low carb diet helped my liver one little bit!
Even drinking on a low carb diet is not a good idea.
The first ever pub
The trouble with “first ever “claims is that everyone wants to be the first pub or anything for that matter apart from jumping out of an airplane bizarrely.
Of course, you cannot define a proper pub, is it a British and Irish thing?
Where does a bar in New York come into it?
Of course the big issue with these claims is that the Egyptian and the Greeks were all drinking alcohol in a so called bars long before the proper British pub. Or where they?
The evidence is so contradictory that we could be going around in history for a long time to come!
Even if we say alcohol free is a new thing we would be wrong as sobriety had been around for years mainly in a religious context.
But for many religions’ alcohol is at the heart of ceremony such as a church services and communion.
However, the well documented although not completely substantiated first ever pub is Sean’s Bar in Ireland and this is also contradicted by various websites.
It’s often where a pub or tavern is built rather than the old historic walls itself. However, documents discovered show that the surroundings of Sean’s Bar in Ireland go back to 900 AD. There is some documentation going back to the 10th century foundations.
Drinking alcohol certainly took place here.
“Old Foundations” I have discovered is everything when you are claiming to be the oldest pub !
Where is this pub?
It is a place which I have to confess I have never been to but on the map it is in the center of Ireland as the crow flies. You can imagine it’s the central place for travelers to stop off over the years for food, water and of course something a bit stronger.
According to an Irish broadcaster there is even a statement from Guinness confirming this claim of the oldest pub certainly in Ireland.
Even though I don’t drink I am a fan of everything old in pubs and even used to collect beer mats when I was a kid.
You can get a range of old pub memorabilia by supporting this blog and click on the amazon affiliate link below. If I am honest I am quite fond of browsing these different items and they can actually be very trendy in a modern day apartment or flat.
My office has one or two quirky pictures!
Alcohol does not contain antioxidants
If you read every news headline you will know that antioxidants are a good thing.
But wait a minute.
Have you noticed that a lot of the push is given to why alcohol is the answer to getting more antioxidants? Of course what they mean is the antioxidants are independent of the alcohol that goes into the beers and wine especially red wine it seems.
What they often fail to mention is that you can get antioxidants in lots of ways without alcohol.
Fruit and vegetables for starters
Alcohol is a poison and not an antioxidant. The goodness comes from all the other natural ingredients like fruit, hops, grapes not the alcohol. In fact alcohol can cancel out many of the other benefits from the goodness and vitamins.
Yes there is evidence that a glass of wine can be good for our heart and blood pressure but when you dig into the resources from organizations like the NHS in the UK you are talking maybe one or two standard measures not a bottle.
The problem is it becomes a generalization.
Alcohol free is on the increase
It is now OK we can confess now if we are seeking out a range of alcohol free alternatives. Even with liver disease I have had so much prejudice is sometimes heard to believe.
In fact people who just don’t drink also get the same reaction.
It’s bizarre really after all bars are in the business of serving their customers.
The good news is the industry is growing massively and it helps the taste has gone bigger, better, and the quality has gone up massively.
I recently watched a programme called Saturday Kitchen in the UK. I actually tweeted the show to say it was good that they were reviewing alcohol free options. Alas I did not get a reply.
However, it was lots of alcohol drinkers talking about what is the acceptable face of alcohol free options and I did find it a little bit patronizing but I applaud the effort.
Programmes like this need people who don’t drink to give a real reflection, and I don’t just mean people with an issue around alcohol either which can sometimes give be the default position.
So you can get:
They have a problem therefore they must drink alcohol free beer! Really? Get over yourself. Sorry but it really winds me up! Can you tell?
In fact new research is showing that consumers will opt out of alcohol given better choices and that younger people are making that choice right now in new research from the University of Bristol and Newcastle in the UK.
Ironically did not respond either to my request for a quote.
They are not great at this media stuff are they. Or maybe they think I am just a bit sad with a blog. On the other side the people who make alcohol free drinks know that is certainly not the case and how it is now big business for them!
Money talks and we can use that to our advantage in terms of competitive choice in the alcohol free market.
Not all alcohol drinks have the same calories
Very often people think all alcoholic drinks have the same calories and yet it could not be further from the truth. For most alcoholic drinks the sugar is turned into alcohol especially in wine, beer and cider.
Depending on this and the alcohol content the calories can vary a great deal. This is why so-called skinny wines started up as people want to drink wine while still watching the weight and why not!
One of the big misconceptions is that mocktails (so cocktails without the alcohol) are a great option for a diet.
But trust me they are not as they are generally full of sugar so probably not the best option. It is the same in the alcohol drink market so people go for spirits but top them up with a full on sugar mixers like tonic rather than go for the skinny option.
Alcohol free beers are doing their best to cut back on the calories as they are absent of alcohol .
They won’t be calorie free but they do have fewer calories!
Liver disease is a killer – but don’t blame yourself
I won’t go on about this one because it’s personal to me but alcohol can really damage your liver and it also does not need to be excessive drinking either.
As a social wine drinker it hit me hard and nearly cost me my life.
The recommended weekly amount is not a goal but a guideline as drink aware carefully tells us.
The other thing my consultant would say is that we are bombarded with drink to the point we don’t actually realize how much we are drinking.
Imagine two glasses of wine in the pub after work and yes you have hit a bottle of wine. Its all around us from buying two glasses and getting the rest of the bottle free.
He also makes the point of how big wine glasses have become over the years and from taking a step back and looking at it he is so right.
We often talk about our heart and kidneys but hardly ever about our liver. We only have one and even then a transplant is not guaranteed and comes with risk.
Prevention is better than cure trust me. In a world of social alcohol pressure this can be fraught with issues !
People don’t drink for various reasons
The fact is giving up drinking is one of the biggest judgments people make about others very often, not that they drink too much but that they just don’t drink but “because they must have had an issue with alcohol”.
Yes there are medical reasons like for myself where alcohol could kill me but the other reasons include
- People who just don’t like it
- People who don’t want a hangover
- Women who are pregnant
- People who drive
- People who want to get home and not end up having sex with someone they don’t want to!
- People who want to save money
In fact, if I did a creative session with around 10 people in a room, I bet we could come up with 50 reasons why people don’t want to drink, including for religious reasons.
How Much alcohol is drunk worldwide ?
It’s a staggering figure according to ourworldindata.org. That is before we start to look at the cost of alcohol on our health both mentally and physically but even that figure never really seems to be a wake up call.
In figures from 2016 the average alcohol intake worldwide is around 6.4 liters per adult. Now this is calculated (which is actually very helpful ) in pure alcohol not the actual alcoholic drink.
So forget the wine this is just the alcohol bit!
But if we were to equate it with a bottle of wine then that is 53 bottles of wine per person. Bear in mind this also includes countries where alcohol consumption is forbidden so that makes it a bit more stark.
Of course once we get into the health if you take the UK the cost of alcohol alone to the National Health Service is £3.5 billion. Wow not that is quite a figure and probably does not include some of the mental and abuse aspect of alcohol which is sometimes a so called “hidden figure”.
I would love to know your thoughts on 10 facts about drinking alcohol. Do any of these resonate with you or have you gone alcohol free lately. What’s your favorite alcohol free beer or wine?
I also get back to everyone that comments. I love read your thoughts.