Articles on alcohol

Get Freedom From Alcohol

Dr. Swasti Jain, Dentist
Are you concerned about your alcohol intake? Maybe you feel that you're drinking too much or too often. Perhaps it's a habit you'd like to better control.It's always wise to check with your doctor — she should be able to help you decide whether it is best for you to cut back or to abstain. People who are dependent on alcohol, or have other medical or mental health problems, should stop drinking completely.HOW TO CUT DOWN ALCOHOLThere are lots of simple ways to cut down on the amount of alcohol you drink. It can help to work out if there are particular times or situations when you tend to have a drink, whether that’s a bad day at work or a weekly pub quiz tradition, and plan what you’ll say and do differently next time.Have more alcohol-free days a week. Try agreeing on certain days with your partner or a friend and help each other to stick to it.If you are planning to drink alcohol, decide on a limit in advance and make sure you don’t go over it.Swap every other alcoholic drink for a soft one – starting with your first drink.Try shandy instead of a pint of beer, or swap some wine for soda and have a spritzer.Don’t stock up on beer, wine or spirits at home.Finish one drink before pouring another, because topping up drinks makes it harder to keep track of how much you’ve had and when you planned to stop.Avoid buying drinks in rounds, that way you don’t have to keep pace with anyone.Tell a friend or partner that you’re cutting down on alcohol, they can support you – or even join you.Keep a diary of your drinking - For three to four weeks, keep track of every time you have a drink.- Include information about what and how much you drank as well as where you were. Compare this to your goal. If you're having trouble sticking to your goal, discuss it with your doctor or another health professional.     10.Don't keep alcohol in your house. Having no alcohol at home can help limit your drinking.     11.Be persistentMost people who successfully cut down or stop drinking altogether do so only after several attempts. You'll probably have setbacks, but don't let them keep you from reaching your long-term goal. There's really no final endpoint, as the process usually requires ongoing effort.

Alcohol & Athletes: Can it affect fitness & Performance?

Ms. Silky Mahajan, Dietitian/Nutritionist
A lot of people believe in hitting the gym during the day and then a bar at night. One feels there’s no harm in drinking a little amount of alcohol now and then. Actually the term “little” and “now and then” cannot even be used in that former sentence since it’s more like binge drinking every weekend! Don’t drink and drive isn’t only for behind the wheels, it’s also on the field (and the gym). First, let’s give you a list of how alcohol can affect your body, and then we can get down to details! Keep in mind these effects are within 48 hours of alcohol consumptions, that too just after 2-3 standard drinks.Decrease strengthImpair hand-eye coordinationIncrease fatigue (by impacting liver function)Mineral and vitamin depletionDisturbed sleepImpact cellular repair (since protein is affected negatively)Dehydration thus affecting the kidneysLoss of enduranceUnwanted weight gain Do you really need me to go on? Alcohol isn’t something that recommended for most people; for athlete’s it just makes matters worse.  While you’re training or competing, it's best to stay away from alcohol! Though, the best solution is to give it up completely to live a healthy lifestyle. Now let’s get down to some technical details of how it impacts your organs (just so you don’t think I’m talking in air.)So first things first. Alcohol cannot be stored as energy. This means all the alcohol in your body is converted into fat – hence the term beer belly. Alcohol’s effect on the liver can cause a problem in the production of oxygen which then interferes with the production of ATP ie a direct source of energy for the muscles. Sadly drinking alcohol before your workout hinders the circulation of glucose which is essential for energy. It has also been scientifically proven that alcohol diminishes protein synthesis which in turn stops muscle growth by preventing the repair of damaged muscles. Another thing alcohol does is increase the urge to urinate which leads to loss of electrolytes. No no, I’m not done yet. I’ve got so much more “fun facts” related to alcohol. Since alcohol is a toxin it disrupts the normal cell function. Alcohol also inhibits the absorption of essential minerals like zinc, folic acid, Vitamin B12 etc which are needed for metabolism and new cell growth (muscle cell included).  The consumption of alcohol provides only empty calories which in turn displace valuable nutrients.  That’s just a loss of essentials and an increase of fat! Do note, heavy drinking for a night can negatively affect the brain and bodily activities for 3 whole days whereas 2 nights of consecutive heavy drinking leave an impact for 5 days! Evidently dehydration, fatigue, and headaches – commonly known as hangovers – really don’t mix well with the physical demands of our body. Alcohol disrupts your sleep cycle which in turn leads a reduction in the ability to learn and retain new information. This could range from new skills to studying games or even applying strategies in a game. Excessive alcohol can prevent the secretion of human growth hormone which is essential for muscle growth as well as recovery. For an athlete, that’s bad..bad…BAD! It’s always better to prioritize a good day’s workout over a night of heavy drinking. At least the workout leaves you worn out and exhausted craving for more! Alcohol just leaves you with a bad hangover which leads to false swears of never drinking again. Eat clean, drink healthy and stay fit!

Effects on Alcohol on Teeth

Dr. Swasti Jain, Dentist
People who suffer from alcohol dependency tend to have higher plaque levels on their teeth and are THREE times as likely to suffer from permanent tooth loss.Tooth DecayAlcohol can also lead to tooth decay, gum disease and oral cancer. Alcohol stops the body’s ability to properly fight against germs and disease. Alcohol, especially heavy use, exposes your mouth to increased levels of sugars and acids found in the drink. While occasional alcohol use won’t necessarily cause problems, you should still take precautions. When these sugars combine with natural bacteria in the mouth they form an acid that can attack the hard tissues of our teeth including enamel and break them down.This is especially true when the teeth are constantly exposed to sugars and starches in alcohol without a break.Staining"The color in beverages comes from chromogens,”Chromogens attach to tooth enamel that’s been compromised by the acid in alcohol, and stain teeth. One way to bypass this is to drink alcoholic drinks with a straw.DrynessDrinks high in alcohol, like spirits, dry the mouth. Saliva keeps teeth moist and helps to remove plaque and bacteria from the tooth’s surface. Try to stay hydrated by drinking water while you drink alcohol.The truth that we produce more saliva during the day than at night gives us the belief that drinking during the day will likely speed up the deterioration of our teeth, regardless if we brush or not. No type of alcohol is better or worse than another, it is the alcohol itself that leads to the damage, regardless of whether it is in wine, beer or spirits.After drinking alcohol, it’s important to rinse your mouth with water and brush your teeth to remove any of the alcohol from between teeth and gums.So be warnedIf you are going to drink, brush and floss as soon after as possible.

Does Drinking Alcohol Cause Man Boobs/ Male Breast?

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
The smallest appearance of any fat around the chest for men is a moment of horror and shock. It is the kind of fat deposit which no man would be caught dead in. So, what can be done to delete any sort of risk of developing these absolutely unwanted ‘male breasts’?You will be surprised to know that the very act considered to be manly- 1.Chugging alcohol one drink after the other leads to the development of traits which are exactly opposite of manly. 2.Excess alcohol intake causes alterations in your hormone system which can lead to not only the formation of male breasts but also sexual infertility.How it works once Alcohol goes inside?The smartest way to enjoy alcohol and not let it affect your body is by not exceeding 3 drinks within 2 hours. The science is simple when you consume alcohol your liver puts breakdown of every other kind of ingested fat on hold and concentrates on breaking down the alcohol as it becomes the priority food for that moment. Till this alcohol is completely processed by your body, it stores more fat than normal. Your liver can take up to 2 days to process a couple of drinks! Now what happens to the fat in all the other foods which you ate along with of after your drink? That fat is just stored in your body in fat cells thereby making you gain weight. In short it slows your metabolism down. The time limit of two hours is quoted to give you a sense of the efficiency of your liver. You do not have a super liver, in case you exceed the suggested drinks quota and go beyond 3 drinks in 2 hours, then that takes a toll on your liver. Your liver in the presence of the extra alcohol goes into a stress situation thereby inefficient breakdown of alcohol starts and accumulation of the fat starts to build up around the liver causing fatty liver condition. For healthier liver, morning lemon water is really helpful. Now, once you have an inefficient liver, the breakdown of hormones by the liver also suffers, creating a misbalance of hormones in the body. This misbalance majorly affects the levels of oestrogen and progesterone. The excess oestrogen fails to be broken down and eliminated from the body by the diseased liver thereby letting the oestrogen have its own effects in the body- causing male breasts development and eventually sexual infertility if not treated at the right time. The condition of development of male breast is called gynecomastia. In turn, a perfectly balanced hormone ratio actually promotes healthy weight loss.Alcohol intake and Male boobsBesides, promoting the growth of man boobs, alcohol is also high in calories. These calories are all sugar based, so they are simple carbohydrates. The mixers in alcohol such as colas and juices add to the sugar intake. Excess sugar promotes fat storage in the body. Increased fat in the body also promotes fat storage in the chest area, further exacerbating the condition of male breast. Along with alcoholic drinks, excessive consumption of so called healthy food can also make your body develop male breast. It can also lead to abnormal production of oestrogen in your body. With increasingly sedentary lifestyles and increased food and alcohol intake, the problem of male breast is becoming increasingly common. As you also gain weight in the process you put your heart, liver, kidney and thyroid at stake. All of these organs are at an excessive risk of developing a serious condition under a glut of alcohol in the body.What is the solution to reduce man boobs/male breasts? 1.Your first step should be to reduce your alcohol intake and not allow your man boobs to grow anymore. 2.Then, work on cutting down your body fat. Watch your diet, and get some exercise to reduce your male breasts.

Are You Addicted to Alcohol?

Dr. Naveen Jayaram, Psychiatrist
Alcohol is one of the most widely consumed substances in the world since thousands of years. It is also a potentially addictive substance. 30-40% of the Indian population consumes alcohol. Atleast 10% of these people get addicted to alcohol. 11-15% indulge in heavy and binge drinkingAlcohol is a brain depressant, hence it reduces our inhibitions. In small amounts, it might relieve stress and anxiety, but excessive consumption causes sedation, loss of balance etc. Alcohol addiction is a brain disease and it is a chronic relapsing condition. Prolonged alcohol use causes permanent changes in the brain structure and function, that can persist for years even after stopping.How do you know if you are addicted to alcohol?You have excessive desire to drink alcohol.You are unable to control the use, inspite of having medical or psychological complications.Nothing in your life other than alcohol gives pleasure to you.You are gradually consuming more quantity in order to get the same effect.Appearance of withdrawal symptoms due to reduction or stopping.Disturbed personal life and work functioningWithdrawal symptoms:Shaking of handsNausea/vomitingAnxiety/WeaknessIncreased pulse rate/sweatingHeadache/Disturbed sleepSevere withdrawal can cause fits, hallucination, altered sensorium.Effects of alcohol on your health:Liver damage - hepatitis and cirrhosisAtherosclerosis - thickening of blood vesselsAcute gastritis/pancreatitis - severe abdominal painDepression and other mental illnessDeath due to risk taking and reckless behaviorHow to quit drinking alcohol?Assess whether you are having problematic drinking - (physical damage to body, psychological problems, bad hangovers, blackouts etc.) Identifying and accepting you have a problem is always the first step.Understand that it is a brain disease and you might have lost control over it.Think about the pros and cons of drinking every time you feel the need to.Try to gradually reduce the quantity or number of drinking days.Avoid situations which will remind you about drinking.Keep yourself motivated. You will feel good about the change and improvement in your health.Take steps to prevent relapse once you have stopped drinking.Do not get upset if you relapse, relapse is expected.If addiction is severe and you are unable to quit alcohol, please seek consultation with professionals.

4 Do’s and Don’ts on Drinking Alcohol + Common Myths Busted

Dr. Rajiv Mehta, Physiotherapist
There are several myths and misconceptions surrounding alcohol consumption. But at the heart of all such myths is the fact that alcohol consumption and its processing depends on various factors such as age, size and gender, among others. Here are some myths on alcohol consumption that do not hold true in reality.Myth 1: Soft liquor doesn’t get you drunk. A common misconception centers on soft liquor and its alcoholic effects. Don’t assume that drinking of soft liquors like wine or beer means less alcohol content in your blood, which means lesser chances of you getting drunk. The factor that influences your intoxication levels depends not on the type of drinks you consume but on their quantity. So, whether it’s hard liquor (like gin and vodka) or soft liquor, you could still get intoxicated.Do: It is best to set yourself limits so as to allow your body to process the alcohol.Don’t: Drive if you have had too much of soft liquor.Myth 2: Having food before drinking stops the absorption of alcohol One of the most common myths around drinking alcohol is that eating food prior to drinking stops the body from absorbing the alcohol you consume. Well, this is not true. Food can only aid in delaying the effects of alcohol from setting in. Irrespective of your size, your body’s liver is capable of only handling one drink every hour. That’s why overindulging will only bring about an increase in alcohol concentration in your blood.Do: To stave off the effects of intoxication and enjoy your glass of alcohol, try to have protein-rich foods before downing your drinks.Don’t: Have more than one drink every hour.Myth 3: It’s safe to drink and be on medications false. Having alcohol while on medication can only lead to unwanted results. This is because interaction between the properties of the medicines and the alcohol brings about an increase in the drink’s alcoholic effect. Certain drugs (like cold medicine or pain killers) are known to significantly increase the intoxication effect of alcohol.Do: Consult your doctor before consuming any kind of alcohol, in case of being on long-term medications.Don’t: Drink when you’re on painkillers or cold medicine.Myth 4: You can drive after an hour of having alcohol The truth is that alcohol concentration in your body is significantly higher after 1 hour of having your drink. This is because your body begins to process the alcohol at that hour. So, driving after an hour of having alcohol is not safe.Do: Get a cab for the ride back to your place.Don’t: Drive if you’ve had your drink an hour ago.

4 Most Effective Home Hangover Hacks

Dr. Rajiv Mehta, Physiotherapist
Most people experience prominent side effects on their body and mind the morning following a night of heavy drinking. These after-effects of consuming excessive alcohol, popularly called a hangover, include rapid heartbeat, headache, anxiety, exhaustion, vomiting, dizziness, lack of energy, and body pain.Drinking too much alcohol (5 to 7 drinks for men and 3 to 5 for women) not only causes a hangover but also can negatively impact your health by damaging your liver, central nervous system, brain and gastrointestinal system. It takes about 8 to 24 hours to cure a hangover completely, but you can try these natural remedies to get quick relief from the symptoms and reduce the recovery time.1. Have a bananaA hangover is often associated with decreased potassium levels in your body and having a banana will help replenish it as it contains an adequate amount of the mineral.Directions: you can either have one or two whole bananas or a banana smoothie with few drops of honey to get relieve from most hangover symptoms.2. Try honeyHoney contains fructose, which helps to neutralize the negative impact of alcohol on your body. Moreover, honey provides relief from the hangover as it also helps digest the alcohol better.Directions: take 3-4 teaspoons of honey after each hour (post-hangover) till you feel yourself getting better. You can increase the dosage according to the severity of your hangover.3. Go for a glass of tomato juiceTomato juice proves to be very effective in curbing the symptoms of a hangover as it compensates for the dehydration caused in your body due to excessive alcohol consumption. Also, due to its fructose content, tomato helps in metabolizing the alcohol present in your body.Directions: drink a glass of fresh tomato juice or soup laden with 1 tablespoon each of honey and fresh lemon juice. You can have this juice in the morning once and repeat in the afternoon if needed.4. Drink a lot of waterWhen it comes to beating a hangover, there is no substitute for water. Drinking water is not only a tried and tested remedy, but is also the most effective way to cure a hangover. This happens because water fights the dehydration of fluids in your body caused by drinking alcohol.Directions: to keep the hangover at bay, drink one glass of water after each glass or shot of alcohol you consume. If you forget to do this, starting your day with a bottle of water the next morning will help reduce hangover symptoms drastically.