The Dangers of Alcohol…….and “keeping fit and healthy”

I have been asked why our “WEIGHT LOSS TOOL KIT” doesn’t have any (or very little) alcohol in the 16 week food plan, here is why.

While some people take drinking as part of their everyday activity the following may help you slow down or eliminate alcohol from your daily life. I do not want to be a wowser, however this very acceptable part of life has consequences. Have look at the following:

  • Brain damage
    Binge drinking can cause blackouts, memory loss and anxiety. Long-term drinking can result in permanent brain damage, serious mental health problems and alcohol dependence or alcoholism
  • Young people’s brains are particularly vulnerable because the brain is still developing during their teenage years. Alcohol can damage parts of the brain, affecting behaviour and the ability to learn and remember
  • Cancers
    Drinking alcohol is the second biggest risk factor for cancers of the mouth and throat (smoking being the first). People who develop cirrhosis of the liver (often caused by too much alcohol) can develop liver cancer.
  • Heart and circulation
    Alcohol can cause high blood pressure (hypertension) increasing the risk of having a heart attack or stroke. It also weakens heart muscles, which can affect lungs, liver, brain and other body systems and can cause heart failure. Binge drinking and drinking heavily over longer periods can cause the heart to beat irregularly (arrhythmia) and has been linked to cases of sudden death.
  • Lungs
    People who drink a lot of alcohol have more lung infections and can be more likely to get pneumonia and for their lungs to collapse. When a person vomits as a result of drinking alcohol they may choke if vomit gets sucked into their lungs.
  • Liver
    Drinking too much alcohol initially causes fat deposits to develop in the liver. With continued excessive drinking the liver may become inflamed resulting in alcoholic hepatitis which can result in liver failure and death. Excessive alcohol can permanently scar and damage the liver resulting in liver cirrhosis and an increased risk of liver cancer
  • Stomach
    Drinking above recommended limits can lead to stomach ulcers, internal bleeding and cancer. Alcohol can cause the stomach to become inflamed (gastritis), which can prevent food from being absorbed and increase the risk of cancer.
  • Intestine
    Heavy drinking may result in ulcers and cancer of the colon. It also affects your body’s ability to absorb nutrients and vitamins.
  • Pancreas
    Heavy or prolonged use of alcohol can cause inflammation of the pancreas, which can be very painful, causing vomiting, fever and weight loss, and can be fatal.
  • Intestine
    Heavy drinking may result in ulcers and cancer of the colon. It also affects your body’s ability to absorb nutrients and vitamins.
  • Kidneys
    Heavy drinking can increase your risk of developing high blood pressure – a leading cause of chronic kidney disease.
  • Fertility
    In men: impotence (lowered libido/sex drive) and infertility.
    In women: infertility. Drinking alcohol when pregnant can seriously damage the development of the unborn baby
  • Bones
    Alcohol interferes with the body’s ability to absorb calcium. As a result, your bones become weak and thin (osteoporosis).
  • Weight gain
    Alcohol is high in calories. Weight for weight, the alcohol in a drink contains almost as many calories as fat. The average bottle of wine contains 600 calories while four pints of average strength lager contains 640.
  • Skin
    Alcohol dehydrates your body and your skin; it also widens blood vessels causing your skin to look red or blotchy.
  • Sexual health
    Binge drinking makes you lose your inhibitions and affects your judgement. This might make you less likely to use a condom, increasing your risk of getting a sexually transmitted infection such as chlamydia, HIV or hepatitis or result in an unplanned pregnancy.
  • Mental health
    People may think alcohol helps them to cope with difficult situations and emotions, to reduce stress or relieve anxiety, but alcohol is in fact associated with a range of mental health problems including depression, anxiety, risk-taking behaviour, personality disorders and schizophrenia.
  • Alcohol has also been linked to suicide. The Mental Health Foundation reports that:
  • 65% of suicides have been linked to excessive drinking;
  • 70% of men who kill themselves have drunk alcohol before doing so;
  • almost one third of suicides among young people take place while the person is intoxicated.
  • Excessive drinking can disrupt normal sleeping patterns resulting in insomnia and a lack of restful sleep which can contribute to stress and anxiety.
  • Alcohol affects the parts of your brain that control judgment, concentration, coordination, behaviour and emotions. If you are binge drinking, you may be at greater risk of:
  • becoming a victim of crime, eg rape, domestic violence, mugging or assault;
  • being involved in antisocial or criminal behaviour, eg fights, domestic violence, vandalism or theft;
  • having an accident, eg a road accident, fall, accident at work or accidental fire;
  • losing your job, eg repeated absence or poor performance. Think about the financial consequences;
  • damaging relationships with family or friends.

By: John Hart

Master’s In Education” (Disability/Rehab) Newcastle University Australia

“Grad Cert Education” Newcastle University Australia

“Diploma Fitness/Recreation”

“Diploma of Sport and Recreation”

“Cert 4 Personal Training”

“Level 1 Strength and Conditioning Coach”

Member of ASCA (Australian Strength and Conditioning Association)

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