Alcohol and short-terms effects
In small amounts, alcohol can make you feel more cheerful and relaxed for a short time. However, its effects can last for several hours, depending on:
- the amount consumed and how quickly you drink
- your size and whether you’ve eaten
- how used to drinking alcohol you are
- your mood before drinking
- Drink more slowly, sit out a round and limit the amount of alcohol you drink on a single occasion
- Alternate your usual drink with water or a low-alcohol alternative
- Make sure you have eaten before drinking
Alcohol and calories
Alcoholic drinks are high in calories and these can easily stack up. Many people forget to count the calories in their drinks. If you’re trying to lose weight, think about what you are drinking as well as what you are eating.
Calories from alcohol are ‘empty calories’ and hold no nutritional value and per gramme alcohol contains almost as many calories as fat. Cutting back on alcohol can help you maintain a healthy weight and help maintain normal body processes, such as fat burning and absorption of nutrients from your food.
- Calculate the calories in your alcoholic drinks to stick to healthy limits.
- Remember that drinking can lead to eating more.
- Alternate alcoholic drinks with water or a non-sugary soft drink.
Did you know?
Alcohol and ill-health
Regularly drinking more than the government’s recommended guidelines of 14 units per week for men and women increases your risk of developing serious health conditions. According to Cancer Research UK, all types of alcoholic drink can cause cancer, increasing the risk of seven types of cancer including breast, bowel, liver, mouth and throat. People who smoke and drink put themselves at higher risk of cancer, due to cell damage and harmful chemicals entering the body.
- Don’t save up your 14 units, it's best to spread evenly across the week and have regular drink-free days.
- Start later in the evening, drinking with food and alternating with water.
- Be around people who will allow you to make your own choices regarding alcohol and don’t feel pressured to keep up.
- Consider how much you’re drinking and how it makes those around you feel.
- Understand what triggers you to drink and plan to make a change - see our section below for helpful tips.
- Start to notice the benefits from cutting down – better mood, concentration, memory, skin, sleep and energy.