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Safe Holiday Drinking Tips


It’s easy to drink too much at holiday parties. Read on to learn how to toast the holidays without getting burned.

There’s no better time than the holidays to evaluate your own alcohol intake.

Know your limit

According to Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), women should limit their weekly alcohol intake to nine standard drinks and men to 14 standard drinks. CAMH also recommends that neither women nor men should drink more than two standard drinks in one day.

The body can process no more than a single unit of alcohol per hour—more than that can be hazardous to your health. Most standard drinks are a little under two units, so nurse that cocktail for a good hour and a half at least before pouring another and alternate alcoholic beverages with water.

There are a number of factors that can influence how much alcohol is taken into your bloodstream: how fast you drink, your gender, your body weight, and the amount of food in your stomach.

Is alcohol good or bad for you?

It depends on how much you drink and what kind of lifestyle you lead. Red wine has been shown to lower the bad (LDL) cholesterol but elevate the good (HDL) cholesterol. This has been accredited to wine’s high levels of resveratrol, an antioxidant found in grapes. However, black or green tea may be more beneficial than wine in reducing heart disease as well as cancer and other diseases.

Drinking too much alcohol increases your risk of high blood pressure, liver damage, and obesity. Even small amounts of alcohol can cause cardiomyopathy—weakening of the heart muscle or a change in heart muscle structure—so if you have heart failure or a weak heart, avoid alcohol completely. Never drink alcohol if you’re pregnant.

Tips for guests

  • Eat a proper meal before going to the party. The food will fill your stomach and help to soak up the alcohol. Choose proteins and fats for the meal and then continue to snack throughout the evening at the party.
  • Walk around and mingle at the party. This movement makes it easier to tell if you are feeling tipsy.
  • Find the mixers and dilute your drinks with soda or juice to make spritzers or cocktails.
  • Drink a glass of water after every alcoholic drink, which will keep you hydrated and reduce any hangover the following day. Alternatively, have drinks with lots of ice.

Tips for hosts

  • Have a punch bowl containing fruit and fruit juices for those who want nonalcoholic beverages.
  • Have smaller wine glasses. There are generally three sizes of wine glass: 125 mL, 175 mL, and 250 mL. An average 125 mL glass of wine would be only 1.5 units of alcohol, but a 250 mL glass would be three units.
  • Supply plenty of snacks for people to munch throughout the evening, though avoid salted products, as this just increases thirst.

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