Make drinking less alcohol a priority for 2013, says Swanswell
27 December 2012
Drinking less alcohol should be at the top of everyone’s list of new year’s resolutions, according to Swanswell.
As millions pledge to lose weight, exercise more or give up smoking, the national charity – which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use – is encouraging people to make ‘drinking less’ a priority for 2013.
Around one in four people are classed as hazardous drinkers and there are thousands of deaths directly related to alcohol in the UK every year (6,669 in 2010, NHS statistics), yet society still sees drinking alcohol as part of everyday life.
However, drinking less is not as difficult as it might seem and there are a number of obvious benefits to it.
Alcohol contains a large number of empty calories - if a man drinks up to the government’s recommended daily limit of 3-4 units per day (or about a pint and a half of 5% lager) five days a week, they’d have the equivalent calories of four kebabs a week.
For a woman, having a large glass of wine every day (3.3 units per glass - just over their recommended daily limit of 2-3 units per day), is like eating almost two pizzas every week on top of her usual diet or 45,840 calories over the year (equal to about 25 cups of lard at 205g per cup).
So cutting back on beers, wines and spirits will help people stay in shape over the next 12 months, first of all.
In the short term, alcohol use can disturb sleep, cause feelings of stress, loss of appetite, sweating, anxiety and can affect judgement (Drinkaware), so having fewer alcoholic drinks will improve health and wellbeing on a day-to-day basis.
Over time, regularly drinking alcohol increases the risk of alcohol-related illnesses including some cancers, diabetes, heart disease and liver problems. Cutting back can reduce those risks.
Chris Robinson, Swanswell’s Director of Services, said: ‘It’s that time of year when everyone reflects on what they’ve achieved over the last year and what they think they should do differently over the coming 12 months.
‘So it’s the perfect time to look at last year’s drinking and look at how drinking less can improve your life in 2013. There’s so many health benefits to cutting down on alcohol and you’ll feel the benefit in your pocket too, as drinking less costs you less.
‘It would be unrealistic to challenge yourself to stop drinking completely for a whole year, so try setting smaller goals and cut back gradually to ensure, by the end of the year, you’re well on the way to feeling happier. It’ll take more time but it’ll be worth it.
‘There’s nothing like support from friends and family, so why not get them involved too – why not make it a group challenge? It really will make a difference.’
Worried about your alcohol use? Why not try our alcohol FAST test. Worried about someone else? Act now.