Eat, drink, be responsible
We have all seen the public service announcements about drinking responsibly, but what does this really mean? From a nutrition standpoint, responsible drinking is knowing your limits, planning ahead and making positive choices for your health and wellbeing. While experimentation at college is natural and usually positive, testing your boundaries with alcohol can be dangerous.
When does social drinking cross the line between safe and dangerous? Binge drinking is defined as a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or greater.
For women, this BAC level is reached by consuming four or more alcoholic drinks and for men five or more drinks over about two hours. While excessive drinking can impact your mental reasoning, it can also have lasting impacts on your body. If you make the choice to partake in an adult beverage, follow these tips for a fun and safe night out:
It’s all in the planning
Never drink on an empty stomach. This can lead to rapid alcohol absorption and intoxication. Since alcohol is an appetite stimulant, eating a protein and carbohydrate snack, such as hummus and pita chips or apples and peanut butter, can also help avoid those midnight munchies.
Know your limit
The recommended serving of alcohol for women is up to one drink per day and up to two drinks per day for men.
A standard alcoholic drink is considered 12 ounces of beer, five ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof spirits.
There are calories in that
The calories in alcoholic drinks can add up quickly, especially when mixed drinks are involved. The following are some common amounts: 12 ounces light beer (110 calories) ; 12 ounces regular beer (160 calories) ; five ounces wine (120 calories); four ounces champagne (80 calories); 1.5 ounces 80-proof spirits (100 calories).
Alcohol and exercise don’t mix
Since exercise naturally lowers blood sugar levels, drinking immediately before or after exercise can impair blood sugar stabilization. A sustained, low blood sugar level can prevent you from a fast and successful post-workout recovery. Instead of alcohol, drink plenty of water before and after exercise and re-fuel your body with a balanced snack.
Chug, chug, chug (Water)
Drink plenty of water frequently when consuming alcohol. A good habit is to drink a glass of water for every alcoholic beverage. This many also prevent that dreaded hangover.
Caffeine and alcohol
Caffeine, a stimulant, can override the sedative effects of alcohol. This can send your brain mixed messages and lead you to drink more alcohol over a longer period of time. Contrary to popular belief, caffeine will not help you sober up faster, although it may make you feel more sober.
Last, but definitely not least, be kind to your body. Even though college is an exciting time, don’t push your limits with alcohol.
If you or a friend would like more information about alcohol or substance abuse, contact the University of Idaho Counseling and Testing Center. For more information on this nutrition topic or to schedule an individual nutrition counseling appointment, contact the Campus Dietitian, Marissa Lucas.