List: 8 reasons cut back on alcohol


Alcohol may do more than make you fat

beer belly gut
beer belly gut

There is no doubt that heavy alcohol consumption is very harmful to your health. It is obviously alcohol is a source of empty calories. I wrote about the need to limit alcohol consumption if you are trying to lose weight. Moderate alcohol consumption is likely healthy, but heavy alcohol consumption is not only a source of empty calories that are depositing on your waistline, but it is also terrible for your health. Unfortunately, there are no health benefits of heavy alcohol consumption.

So what is the definition of heavy alcohol consumption? Sorry women, heavy alcohol consumption differs in men and women because of body mass and other differences that cause women to metabolize alcohol differently. Heavy drinking in a woman is defined as 8 per week or 3 in a single day. In men, heavy drinking is 4 a day or 15 per week.

Alcohol calories
Alcohol calories

Reasons to reduce your alcohol consumption:

  1. Cirrhosis: The risk of hardening of the liver increases with heavy alcohol consumption. Alcohol is metabolized in the liver and heavy metabolism scars the liver and slowly destroys it.
  2. Diabetes Type 2: Heavy alcohol consumption increases central obesity and thus raises the risk of metabolic syndrome and diabetes type 2.
  3. Sleep: Alcohol suppresses the quality and quantity of sleep. You may pass out and feel like you are sleeping, but the quality is not restorative.
  4. Heart Disease: See number 2. Both metabolic syndrome and diabetes type 2 increase your risk of heart disease. In fact, diabetes type is a cardiac equivalent to heart disease. The process and disease processes are related. Also, long term heavy drinking weakens the heart muscle and leads to heart failure.
  5. Healthy habits: Alcohol inhibits healthy decisions. We have al done it. A night of debaucheries on the town. You wanted to go to the gym but instead, you are hungover in bed. This does nto even include the bad food chocies you made last night.
  6. Impotence: Sorry guys because I going to hit below the belt. Although diabetes and heart disease increases your risk for impotence by clogging the arteries to the penis, it also increases the risk independently.
  7. Memory and Dementia: Moderate alcohol might help memory and reduce dementia. Too much alcohol causes brain shrinkage and loss of memory. Long term drinking can cause dementia prematurely. Unfortunately, it causes mood disorders so you might be a grump demented person that is alone.
  8. Empty calories: Alcohol is a source of lots of calories with 7 calories per gram. It provides very little benefit and no nutritive benefit.

The bottom line: Heavy alcohol consumption is terrible for your health. Moderate alcohol consumption can lower your risk of heart disease and stroke through the improvement of your cholesterol rations but the line between moderation and heavy consumption is thinner than you think. I recommend that you stick to 1-2 per day and less than 7 in a week. It might improve you health and help you lose weight.

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About the Author

I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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