by Alice Bastable, LiveLighter Victoria Campaign Manager and Dietitian

Did you know the average Australian knocked back the equivalent of a whopping 9 litres of pure alcohol over 2016-17 [1]?

There is no denying Australia’s drinking culture is well and truly entrenched. As we enter the holiday season this becomes even more apparent as boozy end of year work parties and catch up BBQs with friends and family start popping up left, right and centre.

Sure, Christmas is a time to eat, drink and be merry with our loved ones but it can easily become a time of excess and indulgence, especially when it comes to alcohol.

We’re not here to play Grinch, but it is important to consider the health implications that go beyond just feeling a bit lousy and dehydrated after a night of drinking too much. Let’s take a look at what these health impacts are and suss out the best way to go alcohol free this season:

First off, you may be surprised by the amount of kilojoules hiding in your glass of wine or pint of beer.

Take a look at just how much energy you could be consuming on a night out (it may surprise you!):

Considering the energy content in a pint of beer is on par with a chocolate bar, even consuming the occasional drink here and there has a big impact on our energy intake. Taking in too much energy can interfere with achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.

In assessing the most cost effective approach to tackling Australia's obesity epidemic Deakin University’s health economists ranked increasing the price of alcohol as the most value for money policy option.

They say it's one of the most effective ways of reducing how much people drink and proposed applying a tax of 84 cents per standard drink across all alcoholic drinks. This alone has the potential to result in more than 470,000 healthy life years gained for the Australian population.

Reducing the amount we drink or choosing not to drink these holidays will not only help avoid any unwanted weight gain but it is one simple thing we can do to prevent the risk of developing several chronic diseases (such as 13 types of cancer, type 2 diabetes, heart and kidney disease, and stroke).

So, our advice? If you do drink, choose a bev with a low alcohol content and more importantly, try to stick to the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Guidelines of no more than two standard drinks a day.

Don’t feel as if you’re the only one at the party opting for a non-alcoholic beverage. Despite our drinking culture, our attitude towards drinking is shifting and people aren’t actually drinking as much as you think. Only one in six (16.1%) Aussie adults are drinking more than two standard drinks a day[1].

Remember, you really don’t need an excuse as to why you’ve chosen not to drink. When you wake up feeling fresh as a daisy on Boxing Day and News Year’s Day your body will love you for it!

Ready to make changes now and want to learn more?

Check out tasty healthy drink ideas, the perfect drink switch, and find out more tips to help you cut back on alcohol on this factsheet from the LiveLighter website.


[1] Subject/4364.0.55.001~2017-18~Main Features~Alcohol consumption~100
[1] Release12016-17

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