The holidays are often a time of year when drinking alcohol is often encouraged and almost expected, whether it be at the office party, in the comfort of your home, or at family events.
However, this can also make it an extremely challenging time of the year if you are trying to cut down on alcohol consumption, or if you want to be more mindful of your drinking habits.
In this blog, we look at how you can manage your alcohol intake this festive season and beyond, including the recommended daily amounts for moderate alcohol consumption, and tips for cutting down on your drinking.
What are the guidelines on alcohol consumption?
The long-term impact of alcohol misuse is well documented, with physical and mental health issues such as depression, high blood pressure, liver disease, injuries and cardiovascular disease all linked to heavy alcohol use.
According to Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025, published by the US Department of Agriculture and US Department of Health and Human Services, adults of legal drinking age who choose to drink alcohol should drink in moderation.
Men of legal drinking age should limit their intake to two drinks or less per day, while women of legal drinking age are advised to limit their intake to one drink or less per day, on days when alcohol is consumed.
The Dietary Guidelines report also outlines alcoholic drink equivalents, to help Americans monitor their intake.
For example, one alcoholic drink is defined as containing 14 grams (0.6 fluid ounces) of pure alcohol. The following beverages would count as one alcoholic drink:
- 12 fl oz of regular beer (5% alcohol)
- 5 fl oz of wine (12% alcohol)
- 5 fl oz of 80 proof distilled spirits (40% alcohol)
So, although the holidays are a time for celebration, be mindful of what you are drinking and consider these national guidelines to effectively monitor your consumption and reduce the risks to your health.
Top tips to reduce your alcohol intake
The holidays can be a difficult time for many when it comes to managing alcohol consumption. However, there are a few steps you can take to manage your alcohol intake this Christmas and into the New Year.
As well as keeping track of the number of drinks you have had in one sitting, and being mindful of how many drinks you are consuming during the week, it can also be helpful to:
- Choose smaller drinks – perhaps swapping a large glass of wine for a small glass
- Avoid drinking every day – aim for a set number of alcohol-free days each week and stick to them
- Avoid having alcohol at home – having alcohol within easy reach can make limiting your consumption more difficult. Try alcohol-free options instead, like mocktails, to quench your thirst
- Team up with a friend – it can be helpful to have support when you are trying to reduce how much you drink. Consider teaming up with a friend to reduce your alcohol intake. This can help ensure you stick to your goals
For individuals struggling with more severe alcohol addiction, reducing alcohol intake, or quitting drinking altogether can be extremely challenging, meaning that professional support is required.
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