22 January 2024 — Wellness

How even a little alcohol can affect your health (and how to say no to it in social situations)

The effect of alcohol on your health (and how to say no to it in social situations)

For many, a casual drink is a staple of social gatherings, but even small amounts of alcohol can have significant impacts on our health. Understanding the effect of alcohol on your health learning how to gracefully decline a drink in social situations are key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. 

One of the biggest myths you’ll hear is that moderate drinking is okay. It’s only when you drink to excess that it causes issues. But what does “moderate” even mean when it comes to drinking? It’s not a one-size-fits-all kind of deal. It generally means up to one drink a day for women and up to two for men. But remember, everyone’s different, and so are their bodies’ reactions to alcohol.

Even moderate drinking can cause health issues such as developing certain cancers, liver disease, and cardiovascular problems. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drinking too much overtime can cause chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and liver disease.

The effect of alcohol on your mental health

Regular alcohol use, even in social settings, can lead to increased levels of anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. It’s not just about the immediate effects, like hangovers or mood swings. Over time, alcohol can alter brain chemistry, leading to long-term mental health challenges..

Weight Gain

Alcohol is calorie-dense, and regular consumption can contribute to weight gain. According to DrinkAware, drinking a six-pack of cider (4.5%, 500ml can) over the course of the week will add an extra 1,260 calories and 126 grams or 32 teaspoons of sugar to your intake. Similarly, a bottle of white wine (12.5%, 750ml) contains 564 calories and 22.5 grams or 4.5 teaspoons of sugar. For reference, one teaspoon contains approximately four grams of sugar. 

Sleep Disruption

Alcohol might seem like a sleep aid, but it actually disrupts sleep patterns, leading to poorer quality sleep, as per research published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.

How to Say No to Alcohol in Social Situations

Be Confident in Your Choice
Remember that your health is your priority. Be firm and confident in your decision not to drink.

Prepare a Response
Have a response ready for when you’re offered a drink. Simple responses like “I’m driving tonight”, “I have an early morning, “I’m 12 days into being sober and I promised my sponsor I wouldn’t drink,” are effective.

Opt for a mocktail
Order a Mojito without the alcohol. This shows that you’re still participating in the social aspect of the gathering and no one will ever question the alcohol content.

Organise activities that don’t involve the need to drink
Instead of meeting for a meal or leisurely lunch, organise a hike, a visit to the beach or catch up during a gym workout. 

Build a Supportive Social Circle
Surround yourself with friends who respect your decision and have similar health goals.

Bonus Tip

Any of INTU WELLNESS super powders can be incorporated into any drink. Word of warning. Be careful when adding to carbonated water as it can tend to fizz and overflow.

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