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The Benefits of No Alcohol

By Kristeen Cherney

Alcohol contains calories, and therefore provides energy. Despite this fact, alcohol itself is not essential to your overall body function, and so it isn’t considered a nutrient. After drinking, your body works to get rid of the alcohol and doesn’t store any of it. While you may believe certain forms of alcohol, such as red wine, to be “good” for you, there isn’t any real health benefit associated with drinking.

Fewer Empty Calories in Your Diet

Calories are the energy sources you depend on to carry you through everyday tasks and beyond. Beverages like alcohol are considered empty food sources because they don’t provide anything beyond calories in the diet. An average 12-ounce beer contains 153 calories, while a 5-ounce glass of red wine has 125 calories. While this may not seem like much at a glance, the calories can add up after just a couple of drinks. Since alcohol doesn’t provide the nutrients of other food sources, you may end up eating more because of a lack of satiation. If you’re a regular drinker, you may find cutting out alcohol to be an effective way to reduce calories from your daily diet.

Better Hydration and Energy Levels

Dehydration is a common side effect of a hangover, but your body can become dehydrated even after just one drink. Avoiding alcohol can improve body water levels and keep you energized. Furthermore, you should think twice before reaching for a nightcap to sleep. While you might fall asleep quicker after a stiff drink, alcohol actually causes you to toss and turn throughout the night, according to the article, "7 Ways Alcohol Affects Your Health," by Susan E. Matthews, on the LiveScience website. Overtime, reduced quality of sleep leads to depleted daytime energy, as well as increased irritability and poor work performance.

Reduced Risk for Chronic Illnesses

An occasional drink won’t harm an otherwise healthy adult. The danger lies in binge drinking and chronic alcohol consumption. Binge drinking is classified as consuming five alcoholic beverages or more at one time. This is a dangerous practice that causes your liver to go into overdrive to get rid of the toxin. Chronic consumption through binge drinking worsens the damage, and can eventually cause liver disease, according to "Discovering Nutrition." Other health consequences include pancreatitis, heart disease and cancer.

Understanding What Moderation Means

Moderation is the key to all foods and beverages you consume, including alcohol. Unless you have a specific health condition in which your doctor advises you completely avoid drinking, you may learn how to moderately enjoy alcohol. The term “moderation” can be a confusing one. MedlinePlus defines moderate alcohol consumption as one beverage per day for women, two per day for men and one alcoholic beverage for both genders if you’re 65 or older. If you find it difficult to stick to these rules of moderation, you may consider giving up drinking altogether for the sake of your health – and your waistline.

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