Articles on drinking culture

Drinking – What’s the Cost?

Ms. Raisa Luther, Psychotherapist
Counting the cost of alcohol addiction can be a real an eye-opener!It is very important for persons who are drinking too much, or for his or her loved ones to fully understand the damages their addiction is causing.If you check out the costs of alcoholism, it may help get the alcoholic into treatment or urge his or her family members to seek professional intervention.Some persons balk at the cost of treatment. However, once you look at the cost of continued addiction, treatment looks like the most valuable option.So let’s look at the real cost of alcoholism:Health problemsAlcohol is absorbed into your bloodstream and subsequently affects all parts of your body. Beginning with the brain – when it hits the brain, that’s what it means getting ‘high’ or getting the ‘buzz’. Every small peg of alcohol kills thousands of brain cells – irreversibly. Long term alcohol abusers have difficulty in remembering due to memory loss, have lack of concentration and impaired judgement.The drinker’s liver is one of the first victims. Excessive intake of alcohol makes the liver unable to break down the harmful substances. Continued alcohol abuse can lead to serious liver diseases including sclerosis.Alcohol commonly causes stomach problems such as ulcers, bloating and excess gas. Your heart too gets under strain – it has to work that much harder to keep the body functioning. Though the cardiovascular system is extremely powerful and resilient, but like everything it has limits. That’s why alcoholics are prone to irregular heartbeats, strokes and heart attacks.Alcoholism also damages the nervous system. It can cause sexual dysfunction. For men it can lead to impotence, women infertility issues.Other serious problems associated with excessive alchol intake are: problems with teeth and gums, bowel issues and ulcers.There are over 46 diseases directly related to alcoholism. Alcoholics need to spend more time in hospitals, experience loss of pay when they are absent from work. Some, of course, land at the graveyard early.Impact on personal relationshipsWhile the loud and dysfunctional behaviour of the alcoholic may make friends avoid him or her in social settings, it’s the personal relationships that take a huge beating.The alcoholic destroys his or her family unity, causes extreme stress, grief, anguish and hearbreak to those who love him or her dearly. Family members live in constant fear and suffer from long-term emotional and psychological damage.Even love has its limits. The near and dear ones will ultimately give up or harbour deep resentments.As often happens, the partner abandons the alcoholic. This causes the alcoholic to hit the bottle with more vigour and vengeance, leading to further loneliness and devastation.Financial lossYou don’t need rocket science to get this. Boozing is expensive. Not just the cost of the booze, but the things that along with it. Going out with drinking buddies, grandiose spending, medical costs, and absenteeism at work – all these add up to a huge cost. The same amount could have been spent on family welfare, housing improvement, holidays, investments, and personal growth.For the alcoholic, drinking becomes the Number 1 priority. It not only ruins the bank balance, but adversely affects all areas of the alcoholic’s life. Alcohol becomes all-consuming and whatever it costs to fund your drinking will be spent over and above other financial responsibilities.Stop counting the cost of alcohol addiction – start seeking helpThose who cross the line from social drinking to alcohol abuse need help. Alcohol rehabs are effective in rebuilding the lives of alcoholics and their families. The cost involved is nothing compared to what the alcoholic is bound to lose if he doesn’t stop.If you wish to save someone from further deterioration, get in touch with a rehab. Most of the rehabs have outpatient, residential and online therapy options for addiction recovery.

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.

Signs Why You Are Drinking Water Wrong (And 5 Right Ways of Doing So!)

Dr. Gulab Gupta, General Surgeon
Water is the most important source of sustenance, and many would agree that there is nothing better than quenching your thirst with a glass of the crystal clear heavenly liquid. But wait, did you know that there are right ways and wrong in drinking water! Before you roll your eyes and look elsewhere, we would ask you to read on and be well informed. Questions to ask yourselfDo you have a travel size bottle for the water to carry?Do you drink water before meals to eat less?Do you need to often pee, even in the dead of the night?Is the pee yellow or white all day long? AndAren't you peeing a little too much? Think about it!Don't Drown Your World in Water If you thought your 8 glasses per day wasn't enough and that you needed more; read this article which would rock the earth beneath your feet. Experts clearly state that too much water can lead the body closer to danger zone than anything else; what gives life can also kill! From low metabolism to low thought clarity, insomnia and headaches, to shift in blood pressure levels and emotional mood swings too, too much water can play havoc on the mental and physical well-being of an individual. 5 Ways to Drink Your Water RightYou don't have to necessarily drink 8 glasses per day. No one's sure where the so-called 8-by-8 rule came from, says Heinz Valtin, M.D., a Dartmouth College medical professor and author of two studies on the origin of the theory that the human body works best on eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day. The truth is, your daily requirement depends on your diet, size, and unique body chemistry. To determine how much water you should drink, weigh yourself each morning for 3 to 4 days in a row pick a time other than your period to rule out hormone-induced water retention. If you lose a whole pound in a day, it means you came up short on liquids the day before.A glass of cold water early morning and on an empty stomach.Research and studies have shown the benefits of having a glass of cold water on an empty stomach each morning, as soon as you wake up from sleep. This helps activate the organs inside the body, removes toxins and waste materials and makes bowel movements an easy affair too.Do not drink plenty of water before meals to eat less.While yes, if your stomach is filled with water before a meal, you would eat less for sure, but that is not why experts advice a glass before meals- water before meals helps with digestion, but not before 30 minutes of a bite or else the digestive juices wouldn't do their part well. Instead try having a glass of water an hour before meals, which would help nutrients the time to provide the body what it needs.A glass before shower time.Yes, a glass of warm water before shower time can help lower blood pressure levels in the body. Drinking a warm glass of water before taking a bath or shower serves to warm your body from the inside, resulting in the same type of circulatory system dilation that occurs on the skin's surface.Before you bid the day goodbye.An hour before snoozing off, a glass of water can help the body replenish what's lost- body fluids. But an hour before should be an hour before and not ten minutes before you hit the bed. Water is not bad, your habits in consuming it are!Before telling us that you are getting your body enough water, check if you are actually consuming too much of it or not! Too much, yes! Water in excess to the body can actually do more harm than good, and sometimes 8 glasses of water too could be A LOT.

Think Before You Drink!

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
You stay away from the most obvious signs of sugar in your food.  Avoid desserts, don't take sugar in your tea/coffee. But sometimes you ignore the not so obvious forms of sugar that might be harming you. To start the damage control right away here are a few ways how sugar is finding way to your system.Cola drinks (Regular and diet): The cola drinks are soda and added sweeteners and artificial colors present in it. The soda present in it increases the level of co2 in the body which results in the reduction of anti-oxidants in the body. It contains a high amount of sugar in it which is not good for the health.Energy Drinks: It makes up for the energy lost especially for athletes who burn calories at a faster rate and want  to recover for lost energy. But if you read the nutrition label it contain nearly 7 teaspoon of sugar present in it which it more than double the daily requirement, adding health problems as overtime. It also contains a high amount of sodium which is not healthy at all. Have fresh fruit juice for energy and nutrition too.Iced tea: You probably know different flavors of iced tea but do can you tell how many tea spoons are you consuming in a cup. About 5 teaspoon of sugar you consume in a single serving of iced tea. All this extra sugar will keep getting stored and will eventually show on your body as fat or health problems. The lemon drinks for keeping health stroke away can't keep the extra sugar in it. Most of the packaged juices contain high amount of sweeteners not advisable for our body. Instead have green tea in chilled water. Try it, its really refreshing.Fresh Lime Soda: Sweetened lemon drinks whether with soda or without soda contains high amount of sugar which doesn't remain as a healthy option. The fruit squashes and syrups contain concentrated form with sugar and other preservatives. Sweetened drink syrups are equally unhealthy when we compare the sugar present in it to the required amount. Avoid  the sugar in your lime water and double up your health benefits.The above options might give you a reason to think again and put the stop on sugar consumption to a infinite level which is happening everyday. It is alright to consume these drinks in moderation but regular consumption of drinks with high amount of sugar will have repercussions on your health in long term like weight gain, anxiety and depression.

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.

9 Reasons to Avoid Soft Drinks & Sodas

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
When taken at face value, diet soda seems like a health-conscious choice because it contains artificial sweeteners which satisfy your urge for sugar without adding any calories. But there’s more to these chemical cocktails than meets the eye.1) Devoid of nutritional valueSoft drinks and diet soda are devoid of any nutritional value, and don’t contain essential nutrients like vitamins and minerals.2) Enhances invisible fatArtificial sweeteners in diet soda and sugar in sugar sodas trigger insulin secretion which leads to increase in the level of triglyceride in blood. It also leads to deposition of fat in organs such as the liver. This further leads to insulin resistance and diabetes.3) Colouring chemicals-CancerColouring chemicals which are found in soda and soft drinks (2-methylimidazole and 4-methylimidazole) are carcinogenic in nature and lead to cancer.4) Accelerate ageingStudies shows that phosphate and phosphoric acid found in colas and soft drinks acidify the blood and affect the action of glutathione, which is an antioxidant enzyme. In addition, these drinks lack any vitamins or minerals. By consuming these drinks, people cut their intake of water and milk and deprive themselves of essential nutrients which keep the skin healthy and glowing. Thus, the skin becomes dull and more prone to wrinkles and aging.5) Effects on kidneySoft drinks remove Calcium from the body, causing an excess amount of Calcium to be deposited in the kidney, resulting in nephrolithiasis (kidney stones).6) Effects bonePhosphoric acid present in all carbonated beverages causes removal of calcium from the body and leads to osteoporosis.7) Effects of CaffeineIn most carbonated beverages, caffeine is added to make it more addictive. Caffeine in carbonated drinks is more readily absorbed than in any other drink (like coffee, chocolate etc.). Caffeine disturbs sleep by stimulating the nervous system. It also makes premenstrual syndrome worse, causes dehydration and induces the stomach to produce acids, aggravating hyperacidity. Since caffeine disturbs sleep, the body is more likely to produce C - reactive protein, which plays an important role in heart disease.8) Messed up HormonesIt's not just the soda that's causing all the problems. Nearly all aluminum soda cans are lined with an epoxy resin called bisphenol A (BPA), used to keep the acids in soda from reacting with the metal. BPA is known to interfere with hormones, and has been linked to everything from infertility to obesity and diabetes and even some forms of reproductive cancers.9) Unknown Side Effects of GMOsTake a look at the ingredients list for any soda and chances are that most of those ingredients are derived from corn. Independent scientists have found that, in animals, genetically modified crops, or GMOs (Genetically modified organisms), are linked to digestive tract damage, accelerated aging, and even infertility.

Drink Water to Control Appetite

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
The code has finally been cracked. A natural appetite depressant has been found that can be included in daily diet without any prescription, has no side effects and does not shake your daily budget.Scientists confirm that drinking 500 ml of this magic potion before meals can help you achieve your weight loss goals much faster. The common name of this revolutionary liquid is “water”.According to the study, dieters who drank 2 cups of water before meals three times per day, lost about 2.5 kgs more than the dieters who did not increase their water intake.So what’s the water effect? It is believed that drinking water before meals fills up the stomach with zero calories. As a result, one tends to consume less food in the following meal and the total calorie intake is reduced. It also helps in portion control and hence is helpful in weight management. Replacing aerated and added sugar beverages with plain, fresh water also is an effective strategy to reduce calorie intake. All carbonated drinks and beverages with artificial sweeteners are harmful to health and are loaded with sugar which adds on to the waistline increasing risk of several lifestyle diseases. A single serving of these drinks can have as high as 10 teaspoons of sugar.According to experts, the human brain sometimes misinterprets signals of thirst as a sign of hunger, so one ends up eating extra calories instead of drinking zero calorie water.It is not exactly known as to how much water one should drink daily. Experts suggest that one should let the thirst signals of the body be the guiding factor. As per general recommendations, women should drink about 8-10 cups of fluids and men should drink about 12-14 cups.Drinking more water is simply harmless unless one has a medical disorder which leads to fluid retention. So the next time you feel like munching on a bag of chips or a packet of your favorite cookies, just grab a bottle of water and your cravings will vanish!