Alcohol: what you really need to know

  • Alcohol control: imbibing leads to unwanted conditions (Photograph supplied)

    Alcohol control: imbibing leads to unwanted conditions (Photograph supplied)

  • Social drinking: moderate alcohol use for healthy adults means up to one drink a day for women and up to two drinks a day for men (Photograph supplied)

    Social drinking: moderate alcohol use for healthy adults means up to one drink a day for women and up to two drinks a day for men (Photograph supplied)


I know it’s not yet summertime, when alcohol intake increases due to the many barbecues and social events, but let’s talk about it now.

Let’s talk about our favourite social lubricant.

Effects of alcohol

Your body treats alcohol as a toxin. The toxicity of alcohol is further enhanced due to its byproduct of acetaldehyde, an even more toxic substance (carcinogen … cancer-causing agent what??).

Let’s talk weight gain for a second. Your liver is the all-star player that turns your food into energy.

When you consume an alcoholic drink, your liver burns the alcohol off first. If it is “busy” getting rid of alcohol (toxin), those fats, sugars, and carbs that you are eating while you socialise are stored as fat (making fat loss that much harder if this is your goal).

Let’s face it, we’re all not going to quit so what can we do?

I’m not here to scare anyone into removing alcohol or any other “enjoyable” food/beverage from their life.

What is important is that you know about the risks involved when you ingest certain things.

Bermuda is a social society full of “social” drinkers.

But do we really understand the health implications of being so social?

I, myself, am learning more and more about the effects of certain foods and beverages and I will continue to share my findings with you.

So what now? How do I drink in moderation?

Moderate alcohol use for healthy adults means up to one drink a day for women and up to two drinks a day for men. One drink equates to 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits (80 proof).

Moderate alcohol consumption may provide some health benefits, such as, well, they do exist, but the cons overwhelm the mild benefits that are derived from the additives to alcoholic beverages.

The idea that drinking small amounts of alcohol will do you no harm is a myth according to David Nutt, a neuropsychopharmacologist whose speciality is the effects of drugs on the mind.

Binge drinking

Binge drinking is defined as four or more drinks within two hours for women and five or more drinks within two hours for men. Excessive drinking can increase your risk of serious health problems, including:

1, Abdominal fat

2, Certain cancers including breast cancer and cancers of the mouth, throat, oesophagus and liver

3, Pancreatitis

4, Sudden death if you already have cardiovascular disease

5, Heart muscle damage leading to heart failure

6, Stroke

7, High blood pressure

8, Liver disease

9, Accidental serious injury or death

10, Brain damage and other problems in an unborn child (surely you won’t drink while pregnant, right?)

11, Alcohol withdrawal syndrome

I know we all won’t quit completely, but moderation in everything we do is good and now you know what it can look like. If your goal is to lean out — summer bodies are made in the winter remember! — then I would suggest you make the necessary sacrifices in the kitchen (alcohol included). Of course, a long, prosperous life should be your goal as well, so continue to make the necessary changes to ensure you are living a well-balanced life (whatever that looks like, right?).

Remember, this is your lifestyle, be unapologetic about your decisions and your goals and always remember to enjoy the journey!

Dre Hinds is a retired track and field athlete who is now a personal trainer, aerobic and yoga instructor and fitness “addict” with more than 20 years’ experience. She specialises in nutrition, weight and sprint training, operating out of HindsSight Fitness and Wellness at the Berkeley Cultural Centre. Contact her on: absbydre@gmail.com or 599-0412. Find her on Facebook and Instagram under @Absbydre

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Published Feb 13, 2019 at 8:00 am (Updated Feb 13, 2019 at 7:51 am)

Alcohol: what you really need to know

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