Alcohol and Your Health

New Year’s Eve is traditionally a big night for drinking.  A little bit of alcohol will warm you up and give you a sense of well-being. Too much drinking can cause alcohol poisoning and even death  What is too much?  One unit of alcohol is the amount your body can process in one hour.  Drinking in moderation means no more then a 3-4 units for men (equivalent to a pint and a half of beer) and for women, no more than 2-3 units (equivalent to a medium to large glass of wine), per night.  Binge drinking for men is more than 8 units of alcohol (3 pints of beer) and more than 6 units for women (2 large glasses of wine) per night.  Binge drinking is a major factor in accidents, violence and anti-social behavior and causes damage to to our bodies.  Ethanol breaks down into toxic products such as acetaldehyde and free radicals.  If  consumed too quickly or in large amounts, our cells are overwhelmed and the damage may be irreversible.  Ethanol is dehydrating – so with every glass, add a glass of water.  Alcohol also causes a drop in blood sugar, so you’ll crave carbs. The dehydration and blood sugar drop is what causes a headache the next day.   Lastly. alcohol is fattening – its high in calories (1 gm is 7 calories)  which, not only do we not burn, like we do for proteins,carbs and fats, but it also inhibits the breakdown of fatty acids, so  just a few drinks may result in fat accumulation around your liver.  Eating fried foods or cheesy snacks while drinking will add even more fat, since they won’t be broken down either.  Stick with lower calorie alcoholic drinks, like wine, light beer or champagne, eat a protein meal or snack before you start drinking and avoid fatty snacks   Be safe and stay healthy!

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