Even if you stay within the parameters for drinking (one drink per day for women, and up to two drinks daily for men), you’re still putting your health at risk.
In fact, according to numerous studies, even moderate amounts of alcohol can have negative effects on the body, whether that’s making you more susceptible to disease or messing up your sleep.
Here are 5 surprising ways alcohol affects the body:
It May Increase The Risk Of Certain Cancers
One study found that just one alcoholic drink a day can increase the risk of breast cancer (1). Alcohol increases estrogen levels, which many breast cancers need in order to grow. Drinking alcohol is also linked with cancers of the esophagus, mouth, colon and liver.
It Is Bad For Your Sleep
Although booze may help you fall asleep more quickly, it negatively impacts the quality of your sleep. A study done by the London Sleep Centre-Neuropsychiatry found that alcohol reduces rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, the stage of sleep that is most restorative (2). Without REM, you’ll feel as though you haven’t slept at all, and will make you drowsy during the day with brain fog.
It Makes You Gain Weight
Alcohol is filled with empty calories and lots of sugar. It also lessens your self-control, which means more indulgence in unhealthy treats and late-night fast food runs. Alcohol also suppresses leptin, which is a hunger-regulating hormone. The less leptin you have being produced, the more you are going to eat.
It Can Cause Nutritional Deficiencies
Alcohol inhibits the absorption of vital nutrients that keep us healthy. When you start drinking, the body shifts its processes to metabolizing the alcohol instead of processing vitamins and minerals. Alcohol is also very strong and irritates the lining of the stomach and intestinal tract, which inhibits absorption of nutrients. If your body can’t absorb nutrients, this will lead to deficiencies over time.
It Worsens Depression
If you’re already depressed, its likely you also feel the need to drink alcohol. However, this creates a nasty cycle of dependence that often only makes things worse. Since alcohol is a depressant, or a “downer” in itself, it can only make matters worse. It can create unhealthy habits that often spiral into symptoms of addiction. If you’re worried about alcoholism, it may be time to cut back.