Well, hang on a minute.
Now, I’m not saying you can’t have a drink during holidays and celebrations, but if you’re a daily indulger, you may want to reconsider what you’re doing to your body.
Here are 8 amazing things that happen when you stop drinking alcohol.
1). You’ll Lose Weight
One of the most immediate and arguably best reasons to stop drinking is weight loss. There are three big explanations for why you’ll start losing weight when you stop drinking.
First, alcohol is entirely made of empty calories, which means those calories don’t work for you like a complex carb that gives you sustained energy.
If you never thought about the liquid calories you’re drinking, take a look at these numbers:
- Standard can of beer: 154 calories
- Glass of white wine: 128 calories
- Martini: 295 calories
- Jack and Coke: 308 calories
If you stop drinking that martini during happy hour, you’ll save close to 300 calories each day, or 1,500 calories each work week!
See how quickly those calories add up? And that’s just from cutting one drink every weekday. Here’s another thought: Have you ever noticed that you crave unhealthy fatty foods when you’re drinking?
Alcohol subdues our will power and makes us want foods we wouldn’t normally eat because our inhibitions are lowered. But here’s the worst part (yes, it gets worse!): when we drink alcohol, our body prioritizes digesting that toxin before anything else.
So if you’re enjoying that terrible fast food with your alcohol, those proteins, carbs, and fats are just going to sit there until all of the alcohol is burned off first.
If you keep drinking, your body stores all of your calories from food as fat. And those foods aren’t exactly low calorie to begin with, so think about all that fat accumulating in your belly and love handles.
When you stop drinking alcohol, you save calories, crave real food instead of junk food, and let your digestive system do its job by metabolizing food instead of alcohol.
2). Reduce Cholesterol
Alcohol doesn’t contain cholesterol, but you may find cholesterol in whatever you’re mixing your alcohol with.
Trendy alcohols such as cotton candy flavored vodka contain sugar. Beer contains carbs. Both carbs and sugar may raise triglyceride levels and lead to heart disease.
During one study, mice were given the equivalent of two drinks per day while other mice were given the equivalent of a weekend binge session (seven drinks twice a week).
“Levels of LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol plummeted 40 percent in the daily-moderate drinking mice, but rose 20 percent in the weekend-binge drinking mice”.
Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol collects in the plaque that builds up inside your arteries leading to atherosclerosis. On top of this harmful rise, the binge drinking mice gained “more than three times as much weight” as the moderate drinkers.
Even though studies have shown that drinking may raise HDL, or “good” cholesterol levels, this rise in LDL levels and tendency towards obesity wipes out all that good.
“Binge drinkers may have increased risk of developing atherosclerosis…[and] because obesity is also a risk factor for disease, binge drinking may have a strong negative impact on cardiovascular health”.
Of course, if you stop drinking and follow a heart-healthy eating plan like the DASH diet, you’ll be able to keep your cholesterol levels in check and reduce your risks for atherosclerosis and heart disease.
You’ll also be better able to keep your blood sugar levels stable and keep the risk of diabetes far away.
3). Control Your Blood Sugar
Remember how we talked about the way your body processes alcohol before food? Well, our bodies also stop maintaining our blood sugar levels when alcohol enters our systems.
“Studies have shown that alcohol interferes with all three sources of glucose and the hormones needed to maintain healthy blood glucose levels”.
Drinking alcohol decreases the effectiveness of the insulin in your body, which means your blood sugar levels go haywire, leading to insulin resistance and diabetes.
According to one study: “45% to 70% of people with alcoholic liver disease had either glucose intolerance or diabetes”.
So it almost goes without saying, but if you cut out all alcohol, you let your body regulate your blood sugar properly and stop putting yourself at risk for insulin resistance.
4). Sleep Better
Most people believe that alcohol makes you fall asleep faster because it makes you drowsy. But they’re probably confusing that with passing out after a night of partying.
According to one study, when participants drank a cocktail of orange juice and vodka before bed, they showed more slow wave sleep patterns and “delta activity”, which is the kind of deep, restorative sleep that lets the brain clear out waste, firm up memories, and allow the neurons to recharge.
That sounds positive, right?
Don’t get so excited yet.
Researchers also observed that the participants had higher alpha wave patterns and that’s not something you see during normal sleep. “Alpha activity tends to occur when the brain is awake but quietly resting, in metabolic break mode”.
By having both alpha and delta waves together, the participants experienced disrupted sleep that ruined any restoration the brain was hoping to achieve.
“Additionally, alcohol is a diuretic, which increases your need to go the bathroom and causes you to wake up earlier in the morning”.
If you’re not waking up to use the restroom, you’re probably waking up from the vivid nightmares. Yeah, you’re not the only one who experiences intense dreams after a night of indulgence.
“With alcohol in your system, you’re more likely to have intense, colorful dreams and nightmares. There’s also a chance you’ll act out your dreams in your sleep or even sleepwalk”.
There’s also research that shows alcohol decreases your melatonin levels.
Melatonin is the hormone that regulates your body’s internal clock and helps promote sleepiness so you follow a restful rhythm. Mess this up by drinking every day and you may suffer from chronic insomnia and have trouble falling or staying asleep.
If you think you’re suffering from horrible hangovers, you may just be extra tired and sleep deprived.
After a night of insomnia, you’ll likely feel:
- Extreme fatigue the following day
- Irritability, anxiety, or even depression
- The onset of tension headaches
- More insomniatic
And if you stop drinking alcohol, you won’t have to face any of these issues. You’ll be able to fall into a deep, restorative sleep that lets your body prepare to tackle the next day’s stress with ease.
You’ll even enjoy feeling our next benefit…
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