Alcohol Awareness Month: Limiting Alcohol Intake
As April rolls on, I think of the warmth of the sun on my skin, flowers a bloom, greener pastures and longer days, but for others, alcohol awareness may be in their hearts. Since 1987, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD), Inc. has promoted alcohol awareness in the month of April. NCADD’s sponsorship is meant to improve societal awareness, knowledge, and communal support while decreasing the stigma of alcoholism and alcohol-related issues.
With pour tap rooms, wine bars, and liquor stores around every corner, alcohol is easily accessible for those of legal age to drink. Drinking too much alcohol can lead to mental health issues, liver disease, and some types of cancer. Moreover, excess consumption of alcohol has been linked to increased risk of motor-vehicle accidents, violence, suicide, drowning, injuries, and even relationship problems. 30% of American do not drink at all. However, on the flip side the top 10% or 24 million, drink on average 74 drinks a week. That’s a little over 10 drink per day!! There must be a happy medium where you can still have a drink from time to time without being a total lush.
Follow our tips to understand how to consume alcohol safely when you choose to partake.
KNOW YOUR LIMIT
Everyone’s response to alcohol can vary but the rule of thumb for consumption is one to two standard drinks in the first hour, which will raise your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) to 0.05%. Typically, one standard drink per hour after the first will maintain that BAC level. A standard drink unit is 12-ounces of beer at 5% alcohol, 5-ounce glass of wine at 12% alcohol, 8-ounces of malt liquor at 7% alcohol, and 1/2 oz of 80-proof liquor at 40% alcohol. Whatever your drink of choice is, see if this rule of thumb or perhaps less alcohol suits you best.
We all know this tip in some facet of our lives right? Moderate alcohol consumption for women is 1 drink per day and up to 2 drinks per day for men. This recommendation is for one single day and is not intended to encourage you to consume alcohol for several days. So when you decide have a glass of wine or beer, do so occasionally rather than regularly.
EAT FOOD WHILE YOU DRINK
If alcohol is on the men,u make sure dinner is already served. Food, especially those high in protein, can help slow the absorption of alcohol into the circulatory system. Try eating a meal or snack with meat, cheese, or nuts.
TRACK YOUR CALORIES
A bottle of wine contains on average 635 calories. To ensure you are not drinking your calories but rather eating a balanced diet, moderate your alcohol intake. You may want to consider a “once a week cheat meal” where you can have one or two drinks, BUT only if you are good throughout the week by drinking water and other low calorie beverage options.
PAY IN CASH
Typically, you know what to expect cost wise when you are dining out with friends, family, or co-workers. Bring an appropriate amount of cash to cover your meal and/or your one or two drink maximum. Do not bring any more cash than needed as to avoid allowing yourself to add a few more drinks to your tab and even save a bit of money!
If you have a tendency to drink endlessly while watching TV, or you and some friends are having a night out on the town, this tip is for you. Begin with a glass of water and when complete, you can allow yourself to order an alcoholic beverage. Once you are through with your drink, it’s time for some more water. Remember to only order alcohol when you have finished your water entirely. For every alcoholic drink you should drink 8 ounces of water! PS, water will help you feel fuller quicker and help you stay hydrated!
SIP, DON’T CHUG
Alcoholic beverages can be rather enjoyable for your tastebuds. However, to truly enjoy the taste palate your drink can deliver, you must sip on your drink. If you chug your drink for the effect, you are losing the appeal of the flavors. Slow it down to enjoy the taste and smells of your beverage.
CHOOSE LESS ALCOHOL
When choosing your drink, look at the menu or nutrition label to understand how much alcohol is in each amount. Try a more diluted alcoholic drink like a spritzer or shandy. Avoid cocktails since they are a mixture of different volumes of alcohol content.
These tips are meant for those who wish to drink alcohol occasionally and safely. You should seek professional help, if you or a loved one presents signs and symptoms or has been diagnosed with alcoholism or an alcohol related condition.
To learn more, seek treatment or for support around alcoholism and alcohol related conditions contact the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services toll-free at 1-800-662-HELP (4357). You may also find similar helpful resources at https://www.ncadd.org.
– CASEY EDMONDS, CHC