Alcohol. Whether it’s at the pub with mates, or relaxing on the deck with a cheese platter, alcohol is a classic way to wind down after a long work week. Well I’m about to give you some facts that you might not like, but here we go. 

ALCOHOL IS NOT AN ESSENTIAL COMPONENT OF THE DIET. It is high energy, nutrient poor and classified a depressant drug, which means it slows down the messages traveling between the brain and the body.

ALCOHOL SHOULD BE ELIMINATED WHEN ATTEMPTING TO LOSE WEIGHT. One of the biggest health complaints from shift workers is weight gain. If you want to lose weight and get back under that magic number that makes you feel healthy again then you need to quit drinking the booze. A big mistake that people make is to just increase their exercise to help with weight loss and do nothing else. Alcohol intake directly impairs rehydration and recovery processes when exercising regularly.

Current dietary recommendations for alcohol in Australia are:

  • Aim for two alcohol free days per week.
  • When drinking alcohol, try to drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.
  • Alternate alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic drinks such as water or soda water.
  • Try a wine spritzer with mineral or soda water instead of a full glass of wine.
  • If having a glass of wine, don’t fill it to the top. One standard drink equals 100mL (less than half a cup).
  • Avoid snacking on foods high in salt. Not only is too much salt unhealthy, but it can also increase the likelihood of having another drink.
  • Avoid pre-mixed drinks with added sugars. These are very high in both kilojoules and sugars.
  • Avoid mixing alcohol with energy drinks. The caffeine reduces your ability to manage your alcohol intake. This can lead to a higher risk of alcohol-related harm.

Some other common complaints for shift workers include poor quality sleep, no energy, depression, brain fog. Keep these benefits of quitting in mind when you want to have those extra few beers or wines. Reducing your alcohol intake:

  • improves your mood 
  • Improves your sleep
  • increases your energy
  • improves your relationships with your loved ones
  • helps you perform better at work
  • lowers your risk of long-term health problems such as cancer and heart disease
  • saves you money
  • supports healthy digestion

Don’t get me wrong I love to have a few every now and again too. Reducing is only going to benefit you. Dry July and Sober February are a good place to start.