Giving Up Alcohol: 8 Health Changes You Can Expect

Giving up alcohol may seem like a big step, however it can herald in a raft of benefits. If you read on you will learn what these are and may be more inclined to give up.

Health Changes Giving Up Alcohol

1) A Better Night’s Sleep

 According to the latest data published in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, drinking before going to sleep increases the brain’s alpha wave patterns. This sort of behaviour is usually seen during periods of conscious rest rather than full-on sleep, and it effectively translates into a disturbed sleep cycle. Data accumulated from 27 different studies confirms that although alcohol may make it easier to fall into a deep sleep, the quality of individuals’ sleep suffers greatly after the first portion of rest. In the immediate aftermath of giving up alcohol, you may find it slightly difficult to get to sleep on the first few nights. The sleep you do get is likely to feel more refreshing, leaving you feeling energised when you wake up. According to this top drug and alcohol rehab centre, getting better sleep will make it easier to concentrate and boost your mood. 

2) Better Appetite Control

Alcohol is, according to a study found in the American Journal of Nutrition, a major factor in overeating. Information from the journal Obesity suggests that this may be because alcohol serves to sharpen our senses. In that study, researchers found that women who received carefully-controlled alcohol “infusions” tended to consume 30 percent more food than control subjects who received a saline solution instead. The addition of a moderate amount of alcohol increased neural activity in the hypothalamus and made test subjects more sensitive to food aromas.

3) Sugar Cravings May Increase

Sugar is a prime culprit for boosting dopamine levels, leading to increased feelings of pleasure. Alcohol has an identical effect. It’s quite likely that cutting yourself off from one dopamine trigger will make you more tempted to reach for a different one. Indulging in something sweet may end up allowing you to recapture the same rush you used to get from taking a drink.

4) Body Weight Drops

Alcoholic beverages are packed with calories, mainly in the form of carbohydrates. As a general rule of thumb, a single serving of alcohol (a glass of wine, a beer, or a cocktail) contains roughly 150 calories. With the exception of the potential health benefits of wine (discussed below), these calories do virtually nothing for you. They provide the body with no usable nutrition, yet they’re very likely to be converted into fat.

If you drop alcohol and refrain from adding in new sources of empty calories, the odds are excellent that you’ll start to see weight loss. If your weekly average hovers around five drinks a week, cutting booze out of your life will save you over 39,000 calories a year. That, in turn, translates into 11 pounds of unwanted body fat. When New Scientist magazine tracked the experiences of 14 staffers who gave up alcohol for just 5 weeks, the participants reported an average body weight loss of two percent.

5) Clearer Skin

You’ll find that your skin gets noticeably more hydrated after just a few days of abstention. Alcohol works as a potent diuretic, leading to more frequent urination. Alcohol also interferes with the body’s ability to reabsorb water by inhibiting the production of antidiuretic hormones. Giving up alcohol can reduce redness in your cheeks and nose, and it may also help with any long-term skin conditions (dandruff, rosacea, eczema, etc) you’re having trouble with.

6) Financial Savings

Drinking can be a costly way to spend your time, especially if you cultivate a palate for fine wines or rare whiskies. Actually sitting down and calculating the amount of money you lose to alcohol can be a potent motivating experience if you need another prod to give up booze.

7) Psychological Changes

Understand that giving up alcohol can complicate your social schedule. Associating with friends who are indulging can be a source of jealousy or anger. Ranking says that alcohol is often used as a ‘social lubricant’ to make emotional exchanges easier. People who give up a drinking habit sometimes struggle with feelings of agitation and restlessness in the aftermath.

(Are you drinking too much? Run down these warning signs.)

8) Reduced Cancer Risk – But Watch The Heart

Alcohol consumption is, according to the National Cancer Institute, a risk factor for cancers occurring in the liver, mouth, breast, rectum, and colon. The more you drink, the greater the risk. Note that moderate drinking may, according to extensive research, reduce your risk of heart disease. If you are a light drinker, giving up alcohol may lead to slight increases in your risk of stroke and diabetes.

The Bottom Line

The positive results experienced in the New Scientist study mentioned above went beyond weight loss. Blood testing showed an average reduction in cholesterol levels of five percent, blood glucose of 16 percent, and liver fat of 15 percent. There’s little scientific disagreement with the contention that kicking booze out of your life will improve your health, but the five-week study show just how rapidly you can expect to see improvements after you decide to give alcohol a pass.

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