Alcohol can have a huge impact over our physical health and wellbeing. Although we don’t always think of it as such, alcohol is a psychoactive substance, meaning it can radically change the way we think and feel, this has a knock-on effect for our bodies.
Many of us can recall feeling rough following a night of drinking. But the physical effects of alcohol go far beyond next day hangover regret.
We can’t ‘sweat out’ excess alcohol so a next day jog or a session in the gym won’t undo or lessen the damage of the alcohol in your system. Your liver will need to process everything you’ve drunk, unit by unit. The more you drink the longer that will take.
We tend to think of alcohol as helping us to relax, something to look forward to after a difficult day and can make us feel quite chirpy. In the longer-term, the body becomes used to the dopamine boosts it’s getting from alcohol, and starts making less dopamine to compensate. That means that if drinking becomes a habit, we may become dopamine-deficient and this could contribute to us experiencing low mood. (Source: alcoholchange.org.uk)
Energy in alcohol
Alcoholic drinks are often very high in calories, even before we begin to add soft-drink mixers. The energy consumed in a evening of drinking can soon add up, in addition to this alcohol stimulates appetite and means we are more likely to consume more fatty or sugary foods.
The examples show different drinks and foods with equivalent calorific content. How many calories do you consume from alcohol in a week?
We get a lot more than calories, (vitamins, minerals, fibre, etc) from our food. It’s important not to cut out or down on meals to substitute for alcohol.