Alcohol can be your friend. Alcohol can solve all of your problems. Alcohol can make you feel invincible. Alcohol can make everything enjoyable. Sounds great, right?
A liquid that can do all that would be - or is - applauded, nay, worshipped like some gift from the Gods (I’m looking at you, Silenus). But like anything that sounds great, there is always the opposite that lurks in the shadows, or in this case, in the depths of a pint or bottle.
Now I am not trying to scare you - nor persuade you - from completely giving up on drinking, I am only trying to shed some light to you about the health and financial benefits of simply cutting down on the booze.
The ‘C’ Word
No, not that ‘C’ word. Remove that word from your mind right now and replace it with Calories.
Calories are units of energy that can be found in food, which is then released around the body to allow it to function efficiently and effectively, daily. We burn these calories by working-out, walking, running, even breathing, to keep our bodies healthy and balanced.
Alcohol contains more calories, stimulates your hunger and lowers your metabolism. The reason why you crave food is because of two things:
1) Your blood pressure drops as you drink, so your body tries to keep your blood sugar levels balanced. This is why you get a huge craving for carbs and fatty foods & 2) The alcohol can trigger the part of your brain (the hypothalamus) which controls your body temperature, sleep and hunger.
If you drink over the recommended units per week (14 units), you could well see - and feel - your body weight creep up slowly, over time.
If you think that your skin will remain smooth and firm as you continue to drink over the years, excessively…then I’m afraid you are very much mistaken.
If you go up to your ‘local’ (Pub for those outside the UK), you may occasionally see the regulars up there with, unfortunately, bad skin. Wrinkles, puffiness, spots and loss of collagen can be caused due to lack of Vitamin A. As you drink more, your body and skin dehydrates. It is wise to always drink water between drinking a pint of lager or a glass of wine to keep your body and skin hydrated.
The Brain And Social Issues
The slurred speech, loss of balance and memory lapse are common symptoms that are seen - and felt - by those who occasionally binge-drink on a Friday/Saturday night or, in worse cases, can be permanent through long-term abuse of alcohol. But, alcohol can be a two-way street.
When you drink, alcohol realises endorphins to the brain to give you that euphoric feeling that can be produced by the body, naturally, by working-out or even a hobby that makes you feel happy and onto of the world. You feel more confident, outgoing and untouchable. But as you continue to drink more, the endorphin levels creep up higher and higher, which sounds brilliant, until, you hit a brick wall (metaphorically speaking) and cannot continue to find that good feeling, anymore. This is when fatigue and depression kicks in because, as you might know, alcohol is a depressant.
You’re mood and personality can change dramatically and can be seen by those around you. Anxiety, aggression, delusions and even a low sex drive can be quite common too.
When the night is over and you’ve set the world to rights, and possibly agreed to an activity due to being overconfident, you would climb in your bed, or on a friends couch, knowing that tomorrow is going to be a total washout of being productive.
You wake up. THUD! THUD! THUD! The headache is the first thing that greets you in the morning (or if you remembered to drink a glass of water in-between drinks, then the headache should be minimal). Laying there, skin feels clammy, hair is greasy and your body seeps out the alcohol through your pores. You feel too lazy to get up and sort yourself out, so you have a ‘duvet day’.
That confidence that you had the night before? Gone! And what about that agreement you confirmed last night of an activity that takes a-lot of your time and energy? Well that agreement will now be null and void.
The reason for these symptoms is because alcohol has little nutritional value to provide the body and can be high in calories. So your body sees alcohol as a fat and will work hard to break down the alcohol sugars by oxidising it, producing the enzyme, dehydrogenase, which then converts this into fatty acids.
This is the why you feel lazy, less confident and unmotivated to do even the simplest of chores the day after.
You know those fivers, tenners or twenties or those shiny coins in your purse/wallet? Yeah? Well, they’ll be sitting comfortably in a till all warm and cosy, while you frantically search through your pockets in the cold night for a fare to get back home.
So before you go out for the night, just think for a couple of seconds what you could use that money that may well be more important rather than - excuse my French - ‘piss it up the wall’.