One seemingly unsolvable headache while on vacation is cracking the code for the right amount of alcohol to consume. And by law quantity, drinkers and aficionados, we mean the healthy amount.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that adult men drink two drinks or less per day and adult women one drink or less. But come on, the holidays are worth putting back a few (or more) with turkey carving, soccer watching, or that family game of charades.
Giving up beer, wine, or cocktails for health reasons can be difficult, especially during the holidays that make consumption a staple (ahem, New Years celebrations). Still, there are healthy ways to drink and have fun. Here is a practical guide to maintaining that good balance.
When does alcohol consumption become excessive alcohol consumption?
Binge drinking is defined as five drinks for men and four drinks for women in a 2 hour period. During the holiday season, binge drinking can happen inadvertently due to inherent social pressures. That’s why experts say it can be essential to space out alcoholic drinks throughout the day.
Brian Dugan, a registered dietitian-nutritionist in Chicago, said paying attention to balance and moderation is essential.
“During the holidays, it can be quite difficult to deal with alcohol,” said Dugan. “In reality, all forms of alcohol consumption can be unhealthy. It is recommended that you be cautious in spreading drinks throughout the day and sipping to be social rather than drinking very quickly. Staying hydrated is also very important. important, even while drinking alcohol. ”
Alcohol abuse can not only lead to a bad hangover, but can also lead to problems the next day, such as vomiting and alcohol poisoning. Not to mention the obvious liver problems. Dugan noted that the types of foods people eat while consuming alcohol at a holiday party play an important role in compensating for binge drinking. This means anything green (ahem green beans) to supplement endless carbs and turkey is a must.
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“Getting lots of foods with fiber and vegetables is important,” said Dugan. “Too much alcohol can act like a poison in our body due to its effect on the metabolism. Getting lean protein to go with the carbohydrates in macaroni and cheese and stuffing can make all the difference.”
Ijeoma Opara, assistant professor of social and behavioral sciences at the Yale School of Public Health, said social pressure can often mix with brain chemistry for a perfect drinking storm over the holidays.
“Alcohol is a depressant and people often consume alcohol to cope with certain things without knowing it,” Opara said. “Because you can easily convince yourself that it’s a day when you drink a lot, then it will be a week or two of the same. It is important to be aware of your drinking patterns and to be just intentional about it. to the amount you choose to drink.
“It’s important not to feel pressured to drink because other people are doing it. And adults should be aware of how much alcohol they are drinking around children. Children are watching. They may not say anything. , but everyone remembers a drunken uncle who fell to the ground. ”
How has the pandemic shaped alcohol consumption during the holidays?
It’s fair to say that quarantine played a big role in increasing alcohol consumption during the pandemic. An October study found a positive correlation between the increase in the number of people on a waiting list for a liver and the increase in retail alcohol sales during the period of the coronavirus pandemic.
The study builds on previous research on the pandemic, including a study that reported that nearly one in 5 Americans turned to “binge drinking” to cope as recently as ‘in April.
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But as COVID-19 concerns diminish, dare we fear that there is a hangover the framed nature of the quarantine – meaning the euphoria of a first big Thanksgiving or Christmas gathering in two years could spur more alcohol consumption.
“We certainly saw an increase in alcohol consumption during the pandemic, as liquor stores were deemed essential and people felt extremely anxious about everything,” said Opara who conducted a study on it. alcohol abuse by New Yorkers during lockdown. “So you consider all of that and now you might have people bombarded with interactions seeing family or being around everyone for the first time in months or years. It’s exciting, but it doesn’t. not change the (story) of safe drinking. ”
Does the type of drink you choose matter?
If you’re planning on having a drink, dietitians recommend that you opt for clear liquors like vodka and gin, as they tend to be lower in calories.
Alcoholic beverages that have a higher sugar content can greatly affect attempts at weight loss and muscle gain.
Dugan said that of all drinks, wine offers healthy cardiovascular benefits in variation and can be a great addition to a Thanksgiving spread, but noted that while each alcoholic beverage has its pros and cons over the others, it is important to be more aware of the big picture.
“I always like to ask people: what are you trying to accomplish? “Because if you’re going to have multiple low calorie beers, you might as well drink the IPA which would equate to the same,” he said. “Drink what you prefer and be intentional to make it a proactive effort. We want it to be healthy, but also lasting for the soul.”
What is the serving size and the number of calories per alcoholic drink?
The National Institutes of Health define a serving as 12 oz of liquid. of beer, 5 fluid ounces. of wine and a shot of distilled spirits in the form of 1.5 flowing oz.
Find out the number of calories in your preferred beverage type below, calculated according to the NIH serving size standard.
- Light beer: 103 calories
- Red wine: 125 calories
- Marguerite: 168 calories
- Martini: 124 calories
- Tequila: 97 calories
- Brandy: 98 calories
Worried that your alcohol consumption is too high? The NIH has advice on the risks of drinking alcohol and how to lower your risk.
Contribution: Rasha Ali