When most people think about the dangers of alcohol, they think about damage to organs like the liver. But alcohol has a part to play in heart disease and stroke too.
Alcohol contains calories just like food, but has no nutritional value.
Alcohol also reduces the amount of fat our bodies can burn.
Because we cannot store alcohol our bodies must get rid of it, so our bodies make this process a priority. Therefore, other processes such as absorbing nutrients and burning fat are forced to slow down.
How many calories are in alcohol?
3 pints of lager
2 Slices of pepperoni pizza
3 bottles of alcopops
2 pints of cider
Chicken fillet burger
2 large glasses of red wine
1 vodka and energy drink
4 Cheese burgers
The alcohol we drink is often equivalent to a second meal, but with no added benefit to it. It is no wonder alcohol makes us put on weight!
As well as affecting your weight, if you drink too much, over time this can increase your blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Being overweight, high blood pressure and high cholesterol all increase your chances of developing cardiovascular illness.
What are my recommended daily units?
There is no completely safe limit for alcohol as everyone’s body is different. Men and women should not drink more than 14 units per week and should also have some alcohol free days each week.
The number of units in a drink depends on the strength and size of the drink, but roughly:
Pint of normal strength beer
Pint of cider
1 measure (35ml) spirits
Bottle of alcopop
Medium (175ml) glass of wine
Half a bottle of wine
There is some evidence that small amounts of alcohol can protect you from heart disease and stroke but we don’t recommend that you drink alcohol as a way of reducing your risk.