One too many glasses can lead to binge drinking and alcohol abuse. Here’s why you should stop when you’ve reached the daily recommended alcohol limit.
It’s easy to let one drink turn into five or six, but don’t let binge drinking ruin your night. You may feel like the life of the party at first, until side effects, e.g., headaches, nausea and vomiting, kick in.
Ruining your host’s new rug is a sure way to get yourself uninvited from the next gathering! Not to mention, the after-effect isn’t pretty. You've put in all that effort dolling up for the night and working out at the gym — don’t waste your waistline on these high-calorie drinks.
Stay happy and in control by sticking to a maximum of one standard drink for women and two for men. Examples of standard drinks include one can of regular beer or half a glass of wine. There’s more to parties than drinking, so let alcohol complement rather than be the focus of your festivities.
Related: Alcohol and Health — Setting Your Drink Limits
Here’s what we recommend instead:
Alternate each glass of alcohol with a non-alcoholic drink. Water is the healthiest choice, as it’s hydrating and calorie-free. For a bit of flavour, spice it up with garnishes - for example, a sprig of mint from your mojito or the slice of cucumber from your gin and tonic.
If you’re really craving a sweet drink, go for a fruit juice or a cocktail. The aim is to space out alcoholic drinks, so your body has time to break them down. While factors like gender, weight and age play a part in the metabolic process.
The best way to slow down alcohol absorption is to sip it slowly and alternate it with food and other non-alcoholic drinks. There’s little you can do to speed up the metabolic process, so pace yourself!
Related: The Drop of Life: 6 Reasons to Drink Water
When pouring a drink, fill your cup at least half full of ice before topping it up with your spirit of choice. This works especially well with whisky, as water enhances its taste and aroma. Loading up on ice helps your body counter the dehydrating effects of alcohol while reducing the amount of alcohol you do eventually consume.
Related: The Best Refreshment
What’s a party without good food? There’s bound to be a spread, some of it lovingly cooked by your friends or host. Have a bit of everything and nibble away as the night wears on. Once you focus on the textures and flavours of the food, you might realise you don’t even crave alcohol.
After your meal, grab a handful of healthy snacks like nuts and grapes to keep you occupied for the rest of the night. Fruits with high water content, such as watermelon, make a good snack and keeps you hydrated. Steer clear of salty food, for example, chips or fries, as they make you thirsty and might tempt you into another drink.
Related: Banish Nasty Nibbles with Healthy Snacks
You may subconsciously associate certain people, places or activities with alcohol, which can trigger or spark an urge to drink. Recognising such triggers can help you take steps to avoid them.
For instance, if clubbing or loud music makes you reach for a glass, suggest an alternative venue to meet your friends. Be honest about what you’re facing — good friends will understand.
Related: Know Your Enemy: Identify and Avoid Triggers
When it comes to binge drinking, ignorance isn’t bliss. While you may be able to sleep off that hangover, you can't sleep off the more insidious effects of long-term heavy drinking. It damages the liver by causing it to swell and can also affect your heart, kidney and digestive functions. Keep these consequences in mind the next time you’re getting ready for a night out, and it may just be the nudge you need to put down that extra pint at the bar .
1. Rehm, J. 2011, The Risks Associated with Alcohol Use and Alcoholism, Alcohol Res Health 934(2): 135-143. Accessed from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3307043/ on 1 Feb 2022.
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This article was last reviewed on
22 Nov 2023
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