SO HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH?

Healthy Woman - - NUTRITION - 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Ac­cord­ing to the Healthy Eat­ing Pyra­mid, al­co­hol is termed as ‘op­tional’. In other words, it is not a ba­sic nu­tri­tional need. The Na­tional In­sti­tute on Al­co­hol Abuse and Al­co­holism de­scribes a safe amount as one to three drinks per day – one drink be­ing about a 12 ounce (300ml) can or bot­tle of beer, or a 5 ounce (148ml) glass of wine, or a shot (about 44ml) of liquor or spirit. Spir­its are gen­er­ally served in 25, 35 or 50ml glasses, and wines in 250ml for larger glasses and 175 or 125ml for smaller glasses. Beers come in 250, 350, 500ml or onelitre cans or bot­tles. A bot­tle of wine (about 750ml) for ex­am­ple, would be far above the rec­om­mended limit (be­tween 148 – 444ml) when con­sumed. Un­for­tu­nately, most peo­ple can fin­ish a bot­tle of wine with­out re­al­is­ing it. Also, drink­ing a week’s worth of al­co­hol in a few hours and ab­stain­ing for the rest of the week is not the same as keep­ing within lim­its.

Keep­ing in mind how many drinks you in­tend to have in, say, a week, is the first step to­wards ac­tu­al­is­ing your goal. Keep track by count­ing (or even writ­ing down). Look­ing back at your week’s drink di­ary will help you bet­ter un­der­stand the ex­tent of your sit­u­a­tion. For some peo­ple, set­ting a fixed drink bud­get works.

Like food, you are likely to con­sume ev­ery­thing in your glass or bot­tle, even with­out the in­ten­tion to do so. In­stead of pour­ing freely, mea­sure your drink with a unit cup. It would also help to pour you own drink; it’s harder to keep track when some­one else is con­stantly top­ping you up.

You may drink more at home than you re­alise, es­pe­cially while do­ing it in front of the TV (with the added con­fi­dence of be­ing at home and not in pub­lic). Is it pos­si­ble to re­place the beers in your fridge with soft drinks? Some­times you ‘grab’ a beer sim­ply be­cause it’s avail­able.

Most peo­ple have suc­cess­fully cut down (and even even­tu­ally quit) by pac­ing their drinks and sip­ping slowly, and hav­ing a fresh drink ev­ery one hour. If you hap­pen to have had a heavy drink­ing spree, avoid al­co­hol for the next 48 hours.

Most times, hunger and thirst can be con­fused for a crav­ing for a drink, es­pe­cially be­cause hunger and thirst makes peo­ple cranky. Be­sides that, eat­ing re­duces the chance of al­co­hol ab­sorp­tion into the blood stream, help­ing cur­tail the amount of al­co­hol you might con­sume. More im­por­tantly, stay hy­drated by drink­ing wa­ter be­fore and in be­tween drinks.

Opt for drinks with lower al­co­hol con­tent. Don’t be fooled by ‘pretty’ drinks, es­pe­cially cock­tails – they of­ten con­tain much more al­co­hol (and calo­ries) than you may imag­ine. If in doubt, ask how much al­co­hol they con­tain.

Do not shy away from ask­ing the bar at­ten­dants / wait­ers the in­for­ma­tion you need con­cern­ing the al­co­hol con­tent of the drink you choose.

If you are re­ally try­ing to cut down, it would help to avoid the peo­ple, places or ac­tiv­i­ties you as­so­ciate with drink­ing. Opt out of rounds as well – you’ll al­ways drink more while out with a large of group of peo­ple if each one is get­ting you sev­eral rounds.

Re­mem­ber, it’s al­ways okay to say ‘no’ to drink of­fers. Learn to do so po­litely and firmly. Let your friends and fam­ily know what you are try­ing to do and ex­plain that it is im­por­tant that they of­fer you their support.

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