With over 9500 alcohol-related deaths in the UK in 2022 (a rise of 7.4% from 2021), it’s time people woke up to the detrimental effects that even ‘responsible drinking’ has on health.
It’s currently recommended we drink NO more than 14 units of alcohol a week, spread across 3 days or more.
If you are aware of these guidelines and are concerned enough to be counting, you may be starting to lean toward the irresponsible zone of drinking.
With 82% of people in the UK admitting they enjoy a drink and deaths due to alcohol intake increasing yearly, it’s clear that there needs to be a different approach to how societies view alcohol.
For years, governments have issued responsible drinking guidelines in an attempt to educate people about ‘responsible drinking’. But with the exception of Canada, which has recently reviewed its recommendations, these levels remain unchanged, despite a growing bank of medical research showing the damaging effects of even moderate alcohol consumption.
It’s time to reconsider the notion of ‘responsible drinking levels’ and why setting these limits to ZERO should be considered the only responsible course of action.
Why Recommended Drinking Levels Don’t Work
When was the last time you poured yourself a glass of wine? Chances are you grabbed your favourite wine glass (now twice the size they were in the ’90s) and poured freehand. And with most wine glasses holding a third of a bottle (250ml), that “one glass of wine” exceeds recommended guidelines twice over. And let’s be honest – when do you ever stick to one glass?
Equally, when out partying, drinking guidelines are probably the last thing on your mind. After all, you’re out for a good time with your friends. The pub or club atmosphere makes it hard to track how much you’re drinking, and before you know it, you’re way over the recommended limit – again.
Despite being marketed to minimize harm, setting out Government guidelines perpetuates the myth that drinking in moderation won’t cause problems — but in reality, even small amounts of alcohol can have detrimental effects on your health.
The thing is, it’s easy to persuade yourself that your drinking is ‘normal’. Everyone else is drinking the same. So it must be okay. You convince yourself that the government guidelines are there for brown paper-bag alcoholics and don’t apply to a moderate drinker like you.
As long as people keep deluding themselves that they’re drinking within “safe recommended limits”, alcohol will continue to wreak havoc on health and happiness.
Medical Research Suggests Zero is the Only Safe Limit
Ever heard yourself saying “everything in moderation” as you reach for another drink? Or “red wine is good for the heart”?
Let’s look at the truth behind both these misleading phrases.
Recent medical research suggests that moderate alcohol consumption may have adverse health effects. And the only safe amount of alcohol to consume is NO alcohol.
When we view alcohol as a chemical and see how the body breaks it down, it’s clear why it’s harmful. As your liver breaks down the booze, it carries out a series of chemical reactions. Alcohol is converted into acetaldehyde, a dangerous DNA-damaging toxin.
Numerous medical studies point out the health issues associated with even one glass of alcohol. When you see how your health can improve by NOT drinking, why would you include alcohol in your lifestyle?
A report from the World Health Organisation states that there were 180,000 cases of cancer attributable to alcohol consumption in 2018. The most common cancers caused by alcohol are oral cavity, oropharynx, oesophagus, liver, larynx, colorectum, and female breast cancer.
The direct health impact alcohol has on women is a concern, especially when “Mummy Wine Culture” promotes daily consumption as the norm. Cutting out alcohol reduces the risk of breast cancer by between 30%-50% – certainly making it worthwhile giving up your daily glass of wine.
Alcohol increases the risk for hypertensive heart disease, cardiomyopathy, atrial fibrillation and flutter, and strokes. The World Heart Federation makes it clear in its report that no alcohol is good for the heart, dispelling any previous suggestions that alcohol, particularly red wine, prolongs life.
In contrast, when you stop drinking, you’re more likely to experience the health benefits of lower blood pressure and reduced cholesterol.
Fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis, and liver cirrhosis are directly related to alcohol consumption. Your liver can regenerate, but ongoing alcohol consumption slows down and eventually prevents the regeneration of cells. The good news is that fatty liver is completely reversible. By cutting out alcohol, your liver is given a chance to heal.
Alcohol is a depressant. It slows down your brain function and impairs your thinking. Although initially a relaxant, once the effects of alcohol wear off, it leaves you feeling anxious and depressed. More concerning, a new study by UCL found that “problematic alcohol use is associated with increased odds of suicide attempt or self-harm”.
However, sobriety improves mental health. Anxiety decreases as your focus improves. Moreover, you’re more likely to partake in enjoyable activities, boosting happiness levels.
Choosing not to Drink Alcohol is the Only way to Drink Responsibly
The idea of drinking in moderation is a myth. One drink leads to another, and the more tolerance you build, the more alcohol you need to achieve the same level of relaxation. Even if you are drinking within the guidelines, you’re still putting yourself at risk of developing alcohol-related diseases.
The good news is there are plenty of ways to live a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life without alcohol. In fact, more people are waking up to the harmful effects of alcohol and choosing sobriety.
If you’re worried about the effect alcohol is having on your life, I’m here to help. Book a JOMO call with me today and make 2023 the year you prioritise your health and happiness.