You’ve heard plenty about how regular alcohol consumption can do a number on your liver. You also know how it can lower your inhibitions and place you in unsafe situations you might not otherwise find yourself in. But there are some little known hidden dangers associated with alcohol consumption too.
If you’re struggling with alcohol and are looking to reduce the amount you consume, here are some facts to support your choice.
It Stalls Weight Loss
If you’ve ever followed a low-carb diet plan, then you’re already familiar with how your body seeks the path of least resistance when looking for fuel. Simple carbohydrates like sugars get used up first, leaving your fat stores perfectly intact.
Alcohol acts in much the same way. Your body metabolizes the alcohol first, ignoring fat as a fuel in favor of something much easier to tap into.
Alcohol increases your appetite and lessens your resolve to resist; it also slows your brain’s ability to send you satiety signals, all of which means you’re more likely to overeat while drinking.
It Interrupts Natural Sleep Cycles
A particularly nasty aspect of any hangover is the dreadful exhaustion you may experience after a heavy drinking session. It seems counter-intuitive, but even though alcohol can make many of us feel sleepy, it actually keeps us awake.
After a night of drinking, you’ll probably crash into bed exhausted, but you’ll probably wake up several times during the night. This is because alcohol prevents you from getting the REM sleep that your body truly needs to recuperate.
Studies also show that it takes you longer to fall back asleep if you drink alcohol, and you’re therefore likely to spend a lot of the night tossing and turning. Poor sleep quality can have a big impact on your overall health.
It is Linked to Cancer
There are several forms of cancer which can trace their origins right back to overuse of alcohol. Among these are cancers of the throat and mouth. People who drink two or more alcoholic beverages per night are nearly three times more likely to develop oral or esophageal cancer.
Of course, alcohol can also negatively affect the liver, stomach and pancreas, and some studies are showing that increased alcohol intake may make you more susceptible to aggressive cancers in these organs as well.
It Elevates Your Blood Pressure
If you’re having a drink to relax, you’re doing more harm than good. Drinking a lot of alcohol in one sitting can dramatically increase your blood pressure for a few hours. That’s dangerous enough, but continual drinking can lead to long-term hypertension as well.
If you’re struggling with stress levels, resist the temptation to drink; try meditating or exercising instead, or speak with a doctor.
It Can Impact Fertility
Men and women who are hoping to have a child will want to cut back on alcohol consumption. Regular drinking is directly linked with decreased fertility, and drinking any amount during pregnancy is not recommended as it may harm the fetus.
If you’re worried about your alcohol intake, reach out to someone. It could be a family member, your doctor, or one of many addiction counseling organizations. Help is all around you, and it’s not too late to reverse these ill effects.