“Happiness is a place between too little and too much.”
This Finnish proverb can be applied to many things in life but particularly holds true when it comes to alcohol consumption. After all, life is all about balance and moderation.
But what is moderate drinking? What are the recommended alcohol limits? Why do people choose to drink NoLo? And how exactly do we cut down on the booze and lead a balanced lifestyle?
We answer all of these questions and more in our how-to article for moderate drinking.
We’ll dive straight in!
The definition of moderate drinking
It’s easy enough to talk about creating balance and cutting down on the booze but what does ‘moderate drinking’ actually mean?
According to the NHS, the ‘low risk’ advice in the UK is to drink less than 14 units a week (the equivalent of a bottle and a half of wine). It’s also recommended to spread out the drinking to over 3 or more days so as not to consume too much at once.
To put this in perspective and to give you an idea of how much of each type of alcohol is classed as ‘moderate drinking’, here’s a handy infographic from Drink Aware:
Dietary guidelines for women and men
Whilst the old alcohol guidelines stated that men could drink more units a day than women, the Department of Health updated these in 2016 after ongoing scientific research into the risks presented by alcohol consumption. Nowadays, the recommended alcohol intake is gender-neutral and alcohol-free days are greatly encouraged for everyone.
How to moderate your drinking
Each person is unique and therefore, you may find that you need to try different methods to create a balance with your own drinking habits.
You can try the following tips to moderate your drinking:
1. Define your ‘why’
To make sure that you are motivated to moderate your drinking, think about why it’s valuable and important to you. Write it down so you can revisit it if you start to doubt yourself or lose confidence in your ability to achieve your goal.
2. Ask a friend or family member
Let a supportive friend and/or family member know that you’re trying to cut down. By explaining how important it is to you that you moderate your drinking, they may be able to offer their help. Be honest about what you do and don’t need and how they can help you to find balance.
3. Make a plan
Decide upon some alcohol-free days in advance; having no alcohol at home can make this easier to adhere to. If you know you’re going out, then try setting yourself a limit beforehand. To make this easier, pair this with steps 5, 6, and 7.
4. Enjoy alcohol-free nights
Nobody said alcohol-free nights had to be boring! Whether it’s mid-week and you’ve got work tomorrow or it’s a designated alcohol-free night, you can still enjoy a sophisticated night in (or out) with NoLo drinks.
5. Eat before drinking
Alcohol is mostly absorbed by the small intestine, where it then migrates into the bloodstream. Drinking on an empty stomach means that the alcohol will have less to bypass as it flows into the small intestine. This results in a much quicker absorption, intensifying the negative side effects of drinking booze. Eating beforehand will slow down the passage of alcohol and subsequent absorption.
6. Stay hydrated
Moderate drinking by getting plenty of H20. Not only will drinking water in between alcoholic beverages reduce dehydration caused by alcohol, but it will also help you to monitor how much you are drinking. Because, when you’re drinking water, you’re not drinking alcohol!
7. Alternate with alcohol-free drinks
For something more fun and sophisticated than water, why not try alternating with alcohol-free drinks? For example:
8. Drink it neat
Whilst this may seem counterintuitive, try drinking your vodka, whisky, rum, or other spirit of choice neat. Drinking spirits in a cocktail makes them easier to down, so not the best choice if you’re trying to moderate your drinking.
If you really fancy a cocktail, why not try something 0%? There are now plenty of establishments that serve delicious non-alcoholic drinks (and no, we’re not talking about sugary mocktails). Check out our Favourite Bars in London Serving Alcohol-Free for some seriously tasty 0% cocktails.
What are the benefits of consuming alcohol in moderation?
Drinking alcohol in moderation greatly reduces your risk of developing chronic diseases, such as heart disease and various cancers. What’s more, if you’re cutting down on the booze, it’s likely you’ll experience the following benefits:
- Better sleep routine
- Higher energy levels
- Enhanced memory
- Healthier immune response
- Improved mental health and anxiety
- Clearer skin
- Healthier weight
For a full list of moderate drinking advantages, read our article on Why You Should Try Alcohol-Free.
Is drinking too much an addiction?
The cause behind why people drink too much (or binge drink) is much more nuanced than simply labelling it as an addiction. As Dr Adi Jaffe explains, the focus that everybody puts on quitting (or on abstinence) can actually cause more failure than success.
Instead, it’s important to figure out your ‘why’. If you drink over the recommended amount, is there a reason for this? Is it a coping mechanism? Peer pressure? Whatever the underlying cause(s), understanding it will help you to effectively develop a more balanced and healthy relationship with alcohol.
How do you moderate your drinking?
We’d love to know your tips and tricks on moderate drinking!
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