Heath benefits of going alcohol-free
According to Dry July Australia, having a month off alcohol has great health benefits, such as sleeping better, having more energy and of course, no hangovers! Not only is it the alcohol in these beverages that increases your SmartPoints® intake, but it can also be the food choices that alcohol consumption makes you crave afterwards. In addition to the higher SmartPoints intake, here are just some of the effects alcohol can have on our bodies.
What happens to your body when you drink?
In your bloodstream: Alcohol is absorbed into your blood within 5-10 minutes, peaking 30-90 minutes later. After just two standard drinks a woman’s blood alcohol concentration rises to around 0.04, while men’s rise to about 0.03.
In your lungs: Believe it or not, having too many drinks increases your chances of contracting pneumonia or bronchitis because it relaxes the throat and reduces your lungs’ ability to clear mucus.
In your kidneys: Alcohol has a diuretic effect, causing water to be lost through urine, which is why you get so dehydrated (and want another drink). You can also lose important minerals like magnesium, calcium, phosphate, sodium and potassium.
To your stomach: Research by the University of Indiana found that just one alcoholic drink before a meal increases appetite, leading to significantly more food being eaten.
6 ways to cut back on alcohol
1. Find another wind-down ritual
If you often open a bottle of wine in the evening, break the habit by taking a walk, read a book or drinking a cup of tea.
2. DIY lemonade
Satisfy the sweet and tart craving that wine creates, by making DIY low-sugar lemonade.
3. Change venue
If a certain group of people or occasion always ends up boozy, steer clear of them – or suggest doing something different, like seeing a movie or going out dancing.
4. Do the maths
Add up how much you’d spend on alcohol if you drank at your normal rate and see what else you could buy with it at the end of the month.
5. Cheat it
Hold a drink that looks like it’s alcohol – try soda water with a slice of lemon, or a non-alcoholic beer like Bitburger Drive 0% alcohol – it might stop people from hassling you to ‘have a proper drink’.
6. Miss the rounds
If you’re meeting friends in a bar, tell them you’ll be 20 minutes late. That way, you won’t get caught into rounds and can buy your own non-alcoholic drink.
Plus, if you’re a regular drinker, giving up alcohol comes with other extra added benefits including being one of the best beauty treatments you’ll ever have. You’ll sleep better, your skin will clear up and soon you’ll start to look bright-eyed and have more energy.
We’ve put together the chart below which helps put alcoholic drinks into perspective. So if you are going to enjoy some boozy drinks, make sure you factor them into your Budget.
1 x 150ml white sparkling wine - 4 SmartPoints
1 x 375ml reduced-alcohol beer - 3 SmartPoints
1 x 30ml vodka & 245ml diet tonic water - 2 SmartPoints
1 x schooner draught beer - 5 SmartPoints
2 x 150ml red wine - 7 SmartPoints
Research published in The Lancet puts alcohol at the top of the abused-substances list, beating heroin, crystal meth and cocaine.