By Bosco Rowland on
While alcohol is a legal and common way many societies stimulate social interaction, when consumed at high levels over long periods it can undermine physical health and cause cancers and other diseases. Most people know excessive drinking isn’t good for our health, but how do we know when we’re drinking too much?
Alcohol consumption is associated with long- and short-term consequences. Long-term health consequences include: alcohol-related diseases such as cirrhosis of the liver; stroke; high blood pressure; heart disease; and more than 60 cancers, including of the mouth, lips, throat, oesophagus, stomach, pancreas, liver, bowel and breast.
Short-term health consequences include fatalities, physical injury or road accidents due to...
By Claire Roston on
Alcohol: why do we drink it? People have been consuming alcohol for at least 10,000 years. And when drinking water was rather risky, alcohol seemed a much safer bet. Amaldus of Villanova, a 14th-century monk, even wrote that alcohol “prolongs life, clears away ill humors, revives the heart and maintains youth”.
Today people will give you many reasons for their decision to drink and most of these reflect the effects it has on mind and brain. But before you get too sozzled, one thing is for sure: it is certainly not a safer, healthier bet than water.
1. It tastes nice
It depends on what you are drinking (some drinks like alcopops contain more sugar) and people obviously have different taste preferences. The fact that ethanol is created from...
By Veronique Chachay on
Alcoholic drinks should all carry calorie counts according to a leading UK public health doctor writing in the BMJ today, because of their contribution to obesity. Fiona Sim, Chair of the UK Royal Society for Public Health, writes that while adults who drink may be getting as much as 10% of their daily calories from alcohol, most people are unaware drinking contributes to their energy intake.
Although her data are from local surveys, Sims is absolutely right in highlighting the silent role of alcohol on weight gain. The lack of information about the energy content of alcoholic beverages is likely contributing to an underestimation of consumed energy.
Given the equilibrium between “energy in” and “energy out” is a constant balancing act...
By Emily Banks on
For many of us, alcohol is an enjoyable backdrop to life: wine with dinner, beers with friends, a glass of bubbly to celebrate a special occasion, or nip of something heavier to unwind after a long day.
But alcohol is the fourth-largest cause of disease in Australia after excess weight, smoking and high blood pressure. So, how do you decide whether – or how much – to drink?
Unfortunately, the answer is far from simple and falls into the murky realm of “it depends”. Let’s consider what the science says about the positive and negative effects of alcohol.
Drinking alcohol increases your risk of accidents and injury. Only tobacco outranks alcohol as the leading preventable cause of drug-related death and hospitalisation in Australia....
By Rob Moodie on
Although most Australians would probably say we’ve always been a heavy-drinking nation, the consumption of alcohol has followed a roller coaster curve since European invasion.
Alcohol consumption in Australia began at an annual high point of 13.6 litres of pure alcohol per head in the 1830s. It declined to 5.8 litres a year during the economic downturn in the 1890s, then to a nadir of 2.5 litres during the Great Depression.
After World War II, there was a long rise in per capita consumption to another high point of 13.1 litres in 1974-75. It then dropped again and rose slowly to the 2008-09 levels of ten litres.
There’s little doubt that alcohol is an important part of Australian culture. According to the author of The Rum State, Milton...
By Alana Wulff on
There’s nothing quite like going out with your mates for a big night or two (or three), but there’s also nothing as satisfying as realising you’ve managed to sidestep another time-wasting, hangry hangover.
Making the decision to hit the reset button and take a break from booze isn’t just liberating, it’s a sure-fire way to save your cash and get your mental and physical health back on track. So, with Dry July just around the corner, here are just some of the best reasons to contemplate hitting snooze on the booze.
Your Sleep Improves
Is there anything more annoying than waking up at 3am because those delicious yet devious wines and beers have messed with your sleep patterns? Drinking, especially if you’re indulging on a regular basis, can...
By Claire Obeid on
An easy example – I aim to practise yoga five mornings out of the seven. Initially I thought that a daily practise would work to rejuvenate my body and mind. It took a while, but eventually I realised that in fact practising five morning straight actually sapped me of energy. Now I break it up throughout the week, which reignites my body and therefore I avoid feeling strung out and anxious.
So, do consider all the stressors in your life, especially if you are...
By Dry July Foundation on
Carry on your good work from July through to August and beyond. Here are some practical tips if you want to try to cut down on the amount of alcohol you’re drinking:
- Before you start drinking, quench your thirst with a non-alcoholic drink
- Drink slowly – have a drink of water with your alcoholic drink
- Make every second drink non-alcoholic – this will help space out your drinks.
- Eat food when you’re drinking, but avoid salty foods – these make you thirstier.
- Try to dilute your alcoholic drinks – for example, a shandy (beer with lemonade) or a wine spritzer (wine with mineral water).
- Designate at least two alcohol-free days a week
- Know your standard drinks – buy an alcohol measure for at home
- One standard drink equals:
- 285 ml of...