We all love a good fact, but it’s often surprising how little we actually know about the substances, foods and drinks we consume on a regular basis. So how much do you know about alcohol? And could learning these 3 surprising facts help you cut down, or switch out that evening glass of wine for something a little healthier altogether?
- Alcohol is sexist.
Alcohol affects men and women differently, as women actually absorb more alcohol (2) and metabolise it more slowly. This is due to a difference in hormones, stomach enzymes, bodily concentrations of water and muscle-to-fat ratio. And get this… even if women drink less and over a shorter period of time, long-term drinking is more likely to have negative health consequences for women than men (1). Men, however, being more likely to engage in high-risk behaviours alongside drinking, have a higher rate of alcohol-related accidents (3).
- Alcohol physically changes your brain.
Research by Brad Lander, PhD, at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus, has found that alcohol actually changes the physical brain. Our brains physically adapt to our environments, so that we become better at what we do in that environment, and this includes when we drink alcohol. The brain interprets the mental state induced by alcohol as a new environment and begins to rewire neural pathways to help you to perform better with alcohol in your system. Quite handy you might think until you learn that once our brain has adapted to alcohol, it can’t go back. With prolonged drinking or with alcoholism, these neurological changes remain and can become a problem later in life, even if we stop drinking. You won’t be surprised either to learn that alcohol use is a significant risk factor for dementia(4).
- Different body types react differently to alcohol.
If you’re trying to create a healthy lifestyle, you’ll be interested to hear that people who have more muscle and less body fat have a higher alcohol tolerance than those with a higher percentage of body fat, because muscles absorb alcohol faster than fat (5). Having said that, alcohol makes it more difficult to lose weight. It has no nutritional value and contains only ‘empty calories’. Plus, when we drink, alcohol is used as the primary fuel source, meaning we don’t touch body fat when we exercise until we metabolise the alcohol we’ve ingested. Want to know more? Read more here. (https://www.oneyearnobeer.com/alcohol-and-weightloss-the-real-reason-why-you-might-not-have-found-your-healthy-happy-body-by-ali-roff-psychologies-editor-at-large/).
Want to see how your body could thrive on an alcohol-free lifestyle? One Year No Beer is the leading habit changing programme with a 96% success rate – sign up for one of the challenges here, and get access to the incredibly supportive OYNB forum, where you can meet, be inspired and supported by like-minded people on their own alcohol-free journey.
Plus, check out real examples of how an alcohol-free lifestyle can help you get in the shape of your life…
How Going Alcohol-Free Made Me Fitter, Happier and Healthier
Think It, Write It Down and Be Fit AF! | OYNB Podcast
My Journey to a Healthy Lifestyle and Running a Marathon