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Fitness & Yoga

Cutting down on drinking

Research has suggested that simple advice could help people cut the amount of alcohol they drink.

The Department of Health recently reported that Change4Life had carried out some research. Nineteen people were asked to record what they had been drinking over two weeks.

Think about your own drinking: What would end up in a diary like this, if you decided to keep one?

Interestingly, for the first of the two weeks, the people who were involved in the research were found to be consuming 40 per cent more alcohol than they thought they were, on average - the equivalent to another large glass' worth of wine every day.

When they'd kept their diary over the course of this first week, these people were given some simple advice aimed at helping then drink less.

Some of the tips that were offered included using more mixer in drinks, swapping drinks containing alcohol for soft drink alternative and taking days away from alcohol if they would usually have a drink daily. Another piece of advice was to use smaller glasses for their alcoholic beverages.

Tips like these did have an impact, it seems, becuase the people involved reduced their drinking by more than a third. They also saved the equivalent of £33.35 and took in 1,658 fewer calories over the week.

Not only that, but the people taking part felt they had increased their emotional wellbeing and their physical wellbeing by cutting alcohol consumption.

"I understand that people enjoy having a glass of wine or beer to unwind at the end of a busy day – but these drinks stack up and can increase your risk of high blood pressure, cancer or liver disease," Professor Dame Sally Davies, the Chief Medical Officer has said.

"The alcohol guidelines recommend that men should not regularly drink more than three to four units a day and women should not regularly drink more than two to three units a day."

She explained that a Change4Life campaign is aiming to get people checking their alcohol intake on the net or a special Drinks Checker app, as well as giving advice about cutting down for anyone drinking more than guidelines suggest.

"Cutting back your drinking can reduce your health risks, reduce your calorie intake, help you sleep better and boost your energy. To find out more I strongly recommend people to search Change4Life," she said.

One tip people were given in the small-scale Change4Life study was to swap alcoholic beverages for soft drinks.

But of course at times people can complain that soft drinks are, well, a little boring for their tastes. 

This doesn't have to be the case, though. If you fancy drinking less, for whatever reason, why not use mocktails to fill the gap? These are just like cocktails, only without the alcohol and they can be fantastically tasty.

You may have heard of a Pina Colada, for example, but have you heard of a Pina Banana?

This alcohol-free delight involves nothing more that a teaspoon of almond syrup, two of honey, a banana, single cream (50 ml) and just a little splash of pineapple juice.

You don't have to be a cocktail expert to make it either, just pop everything into a blender alongside some ice and blend until it's nice and frozen.

Or you could give a Berry Breezer a go. This juicy delight contains pineapple juice (50 ml), cranberry juice (100 ml), tonic water, a couple of teaspoons of brown sugar and half a lime.

Again, it's simple to put together, just pop the lime in a cocktail shaker alongside the sugar and give it all a good crush.

Then pop the juices in, and shake everything together before straining into an ice-filled glass. Fill the rest of the glass with the tonic water, and pop an extra piece of lime on top – so that it looks pretty!

These are just two of the wonderful recopies that the Department of Transport came up with last year as a way of fighting drink driving at New Year.

But whether or not you're driving, we think they'd be wonderful in a variety of situations.

Imagine taking a sip after you've just had a wonderful bath (in which you'll no doubt have washed your hair with your favourite organic shampoo), for example, or at any other time when you don't feel like opting for an alcoholic drink, for whatever reason.

 
 
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