Episode 19 – Being more health conscious when drinking
Health conscious drinking is about equipping yourself with information to help you to make better choices before, during and after drinking (that is, if you decide to drink). While for some it’s hard to cut it out completely (or even avoid), let’s run through some tips on what to do if you decide to drink.
Note: If you’re pregnant, under the legal drinking age, and/or on medications, don’t drink. Obey the laws, don’t drink and drive and know your limits.
1. How much can you drink?
There’s a relationship between drinking and health related outcomes which goes like this:
The more you drink, the more at risk of accidents, lifestyles injuries or disease. So in short, drink more, risk more.
What is a standard drink?
A standard drink will help measure your alcohol intake. These measures also help to define a suggested limit for drinking.To help quantify intake, here are some examples of standard drinks:
Beer – 1 middle strength beer 375ml – 3.5% vol. Alcohol
Spirits – 1 shot 30ml – 40% Alcohol
Wine – 1 glass (Red or white) 100ml – 11.5-13.5% vol. Alcohol
What’s the limit?
The Australian guidelines suggest that the limit would be:
Two (2) standard drinks on most days (eg. 4-5 out of 7 days of the week).
Note: Any more than four (4) drinks on one given occasion will further increase your health risk.
2. Go for quality over quantity
Alcohol that is produced naturally over time would be a better choice over other options that are artificially made or have had the process accelerated. This tip is about choosing a good quality drink over a cheaper one. For one, you’ll appreciate it more and secondly, you’re less likely to drink as much alcohol because the session will then become more about appreciation over the effects.
More often than not, “you get what you pay for.”
What else can you do to be more health conscious when drinking? Read on.
3. Cut out the chasers and the mixers such as soft drinks, juices, and energy drink
Soft drinks, juices and energy drinks are the easiest way to take in calories so leave them out completely.
To give you an idea of the calorie content, one juice or chaser might be about 600kJ!
So, when you have between 2 and 4 drinks this will easily equate to 1200kJ to 2400kJ (or about the calorie intake of a regular lunch or dinner meal). Essentially you’re adding on another meal to your day. Imagine the calories you consume if you drank more than 2-4 standard drinks?! Consuming a lot of calories will put you in a position to gain weight and not only that, they’ll offset nutrient rich meals. Make sure to cut out the chasers and mixers and you’ll not only reduce the calories you consume and but you’re likely to cut down on your total alcohol intake as well.
4. Skip the big night out meal
Don’t eat fast food after a big night out. It’s an easy way to sneak in extra calories. For example, a typical fast food meal can be 2000-5000kJ per meal which can be up to 50% of your daily energy intake. By adding a fastfood meal to your calorie intake, you can gain weight (and fat) easily and not only that, the food you eat will “stock pile” on your liver until the alcohol is processed which is not a healthy position for your liver.
What can I eat?
If you are going to eat after a big night out, some better options include:
- Fruit – most fruits are fine
- Diary – dairy such as, yoghurt and good cheese
- Nuts – such as almonds, pecans, walnuts, macadamia
These tips will help you become more aware of your drinking choices. As always, start with one tip, and build up over time. You got this! To summarize the tips, understand what it means to binge drink, go for quality over quantity, cut out the chasers and the mixers such as soft drinks, juices, and energy drink and skip the big night out meal.
Note: Remember to check out your state and national laws. Also, if you’re pregnant, under age, getting in a car or driving, taking medications or similar conditions, save yourself the trouble and skip on the drinking. Play by the rules, look after yourselves and use these tips to become a more health conscious drinker.
Feel free to watch the video!
- Alcohol guidelines: reducing the health risks – https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/health-topics/alcohol-guidelines. Accessed 9 June 2016
- Australian Guidelines to Reduce Health Risks from Drinking Alcohol – https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/guidelines-publications/ds10. Accessed 9 June 2016
- Germov, J., Williams, L. (2004) A Sociology of Food & Nutrition: The Social Appetite (2nd Ed.) Oxford.
- Gropper, S., Smith, J., Groff, J. (2005) Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabolism (4th Ed.), Thomson Wadsworth
- Mahan, L. Escott-Stump, S. (2004) Krause’s Food, Nutrition & Diet Therapy (11th Ed.) Saunders
- Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand – https://www.nrv.gov.au/node/42 Accessed: 25 January 2016
- Porth, C. (2002) Pathophysiology: Concepts of Altered Health States (6th Ed.) Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins
- Williams, T., (2004) This=That: a life-sized photo guide to food serves
Chris Everingham lives and breathes health & fitness.
Chris Everingham lives and breathes health & fitness. International Athlete, Elite Performance Manager for the Philippine Volcanoes rugby teams, qualified Dietitian / Nutritionist and qualified educator. Chris Everingham combines more than 10 years of experience and education together to deliver the best strategies to grow your mindset, rewire your habits and transform your life.