Looking to take a break from alcohol?
Maybe you are looking to lose some weight, or maybe your liver has said enough is enough, but you’ve come to the conclusion it’s time to cut out alcohol from your diet.
Limiting or cutting alcohol consumption out of your diet can have numerous positive effects on your body. Many doctors agree that forgoing alcohol for just a few weeks is a good idea – especially if you have a bad habit of binge drinking.
Taking a break from alcohol has many surprising benefits. A study by the New Scientist showed that giving up alcohol for just 5 weeks can help improve sleep, concentration, and work performance. They also saw significant improvements in weight loss, and participants experienced decreases in bad cholesterol, blood glucose, and liver fat.
After all, your liver is taking most of the punches from all those glasses you drink.
So if you have decided to cut out alcohol from your diet, here’s what you need to know.
You’ll lose weight
If your momma ever told you drinking makes you fat, she was pretty much on the money. The empty calories of alcohol offer your body no nutritional value whatsoever. Some alcohols have more calories, carbohydrates, and sugars than others do – which can be adding 150 or more calories to your current diet. Those extra calories are responsible for you seeing higher numbers on the scale.
When you cut out alcohol from your diet, and don’t supplement the calorie loss with soda and other sugary drinks, you will see subtle changes in your weight. The participants of the New Scientist study lost, on average, about 2% of their body weight. Alcohol also can inhibit your metabolism, because the body uses the alcohol for energy instead of body fat. When you stop drinking your metabolism increases, resulting in better weight loss. By cutting out these extra calories, you will be a step closer to your weight loss goals.
You’ll sleep better at night
Every body needs a certain amount of sleep a night to maintain proper bodily functions. Sleep specialists have done a lot of research on our sleep needs. While the research varies by age, most adults need an average of 7.5 to 8 hours of QUALITY sleep at night. According to the study Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, drinking before bed increases alpha wave patterns in the brain. These increased alpha wave patterns can affect the quality of your sleep. Another thing to note is that diuretics like alcohol increase your need to use the bathroom during the night, at the cost of precious shut-eye.
With no alcohol in your system at bedtime, you are sure to have more restful sleep, than when you were drinking. Higher quantity and quality sleep can help you concentrate better during the day, which will make you more productive. Better sleep for a better you.
Your skin will clear up
Remember how we said alcohol was a diuretic? Well other than making you have to pee a lot, your skin also suffers from alcohol’s moisture stealing effects. Alcohol can leave your skin red, dry, puffy, and can make your adult acne situation much worse. Alcohol has also been shown to dry out your hair, creating brittle strands prone to breakage and dandruff on the scalp. Yeast in beer can even cause nasty flare ups for folks with eczema – OUCH!
Substituting water for alcohol works to reverse moisture loss, bringing hydration and elasticity back to the skin. Hydrated skin is healthy skin, and healthy skin tends to be blemish free. Be kind to your skin, hydrate often.
Your liver will thank you
The liver takes a lot of abuse from alcohol consumption. Alcohol depletes amino acids – the substance that helps detoxify your liver – from your body, and make you feel like crud. Alcohol also causes blood sugar spikes, which doesn’t allow the liver to do its job. Alcohol also increases the accumulation of fat and inflammation in your liver, an early indicator for liver damage and Alcoholic Liver Disease.
When your liver is healthy, it can properly store sugar, or glucose, as glycogen for a later time when your body needs it. Not partaking in alcoholic libations allows your liver to reverse the imbalances the toxins have caused in the body. This allows blood glucose levels to get back in check, which is important for those with diabetes. After giving up alcohol for just 5 weeks, the folks in the New Scientist study also saw around 15% decrease in liver fat. Since alcohol is the most prevalent cause of liver disease, taking a break from alcohol is a great idea for liver detox.
You’ll save money
This might be the best reason of all to cut down on drinking: Alcohol hurts Your Wallet. Frequent trips to the liquor store can set you back quite a bit – especially if you have expensive taste in liquor, beer, and wine. Drinking out at a bar can be even more expensive with the average cocktail and beer prices starting a $6 and up. Drinking on the regular can be an expensive undertaking.
If you add up all the money you’d save after you cut out alcohol for a while, you can splurge on something nice for yourself. Like maybe some new pants, you might need some when you lose that beer gut.
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