Alcohol-related risks – from weight gain to cancer – and how to reduce them


Dr Don Grant said: “The dangers of alcohol have been widely documented over the years.” It has been identified as a “direct factor” for the development of high blood pressure, depression, cirrhosis of the liver, and certain cancers. “Many believe that alcohol is only a threat when consumed in large quantities, but it is not,” Dr. Grant continued. “Drinking four to six units of alcohol, roughly equivalent to two tall glasses of wine or two pints of beer, will produce significant changes in your brain chemistry.”

General practitioner Dr Ross Perry noted that “alcohol actually exacerbates mental illness.”

The charity Alcohol Change UK has noted that feelings of euphoria and a sense of “relaxation” associated with alcohol consumption are short-lived.

The long-term consequences of drinking alcohol over a longer period of time can lead to (or worsen) bad mood and / or anxiety.

Not only does alcohol contribute to physical and mental health problems, the substance can also affect your appearance.

Drinking can lead to weight gain

“When we drink alcohol, the hormone that makes you hungry is increased, which often leads to binge on bad foods,” Dr. Perry warned.

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“If you were to stop drinking six 175ml glasses of wine per week, you would have saved 1,920 calories and 2,160 calories if you had stopped drinking about six pints of lager.”

Alcohol Change UK has highlighted a survey of over 2,000 UK adults which found that over 80% of people underestimate the number of calories in a tall glass of wine.

One unit of alcohol equals 56 calories, but mixers, sugar, or cream can add even more calories to the drink.

A standard glass (175 ml) of wine typically contains around 158 calories, while a tall glass contains around 225 calories.


As for a pint of beer, lager or cider, each contains about 222 calories.

For spirits (neat, without a blender), one unit equals about 50 calories.

“Alcohol is also an appetite stimulant, which can lead to overeating at mealtimes and late at night,” the association said, echoing Dr Perry’s comment.

Alcoholic beverages “also lack most essential vitamins and nutrients,” so if you don’t eat a healthy diet, nutritional deficiencies are likely.

“Without keeping track of what you’re drinking it’s very easy to just brush it off and say ‘I don’t really drink a lot‘, but when you can see exactly what you’re drinking in front of you, you can start to see trends and you. can then begin to hold yourself accountable for your actions. “

The next step is to “set limits for yourself,” either by how many drinks you drink or how often you drink.

This may be easier to do if you “avoid keeping alcohol in the house”.

“By keeping alcohol out of the house, you put a healthy distance between yourself and alcohol,” Hanratty said.

Hanratty’s advice

  • Alternative between alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks during outings
  • Eat while drinking
  • Stay busy to avoid triggers
  • Don’t isolate yourself – tell friends and family that you want to cut down on your alcohol consumption
  • Do not consume alcohol for an extended period of time.

Anyone having problems with alcohol is encouraged to consult their GP, We Are With You, Alcholics Anonymous or Adfam.

Dr Ross Perry is a general practitioner and medical director of Cosmetics.

Dr Don Grant (MB, ChB, DRCOG, MRCGP) works on behalf of The independent online pharmacy.


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