The three questions that reveal if you have a drinking problem (even if you think you don’t have one)

 

There are a number of reason why I may consider it beneficial for a client to avoid alcohol while working to support health nutritionally. Beers and wines contain sugars which can upset blood sugar balance and also encourage unhelpful yeasts in the gut, such as Candida albicans. For this reason I am often asked whether spirits are more acceptable. Unfortunately, the answer is still 'no', since although spirits may be lower in sugar content the alcohol content provides an additional problem. Medicinenet.com says that alcohol is considered a poison by the body, and therefore all efforts are made to excrete it, which impacts some of the body's other mechanisms, including the ability to keep blood sugar levels balanced. Those who frequently drink heavily can decrease the effectiveness of insulin, resulting in high blood sugar (diabetic state).
 
You don't have to be a heavy drinker for blood sugar to be impacted however.Research has shown that alcohol consumption can increase insulin secretion, leading to low blood sugar. It can also affect the normal hormonal response that would work to balance out blood glucose levels, so once blood sugar is low the body struggles to rectify the problem. Drinking as little as 2 ounces of alcohol on an empty stomach can lead to very low blood sugar levels.
 
It is therefore with interest that I read the latest report from  What Doctors Don't Tell You, raising three questions to ensure that those who do drink are in control of the levels that they consume.
 
You could be fooling yourself about your drinking habits, even if you think you’re staying within the ‘safe drinking’ guidelines of one of two glasses of wine a day—and there are three questions you can ask yourself in order to find out.
To discover whether you have a drinking problem when you really don’t think you do, ask yourself these questions:
1.    Have people annoyed you by criticising your drinking?
2.    Have you ever felt bad or guilty about your drinking?
3.    Have you ever had a drink first thing in the morning to steady your nerves or get rid of a hangover?
Answer ‘yes’ to any of these questions, and you should look at cutting back on your drinking, even if you think you’re staying within the recommended ‘safe’ daily intake of one or two small glasses of wine.
People who are drinking this amount could still suffer severe memory loss in old age, say researchers from the University of Exeter.  In fact, people who claim to be moderate drinkers—and who stay within the safe drinking guidelines—are still twice as likely as a non-drinker to have memory problems.
Their discovery was based on an analysis of 6,542 people who were aged between 51 and 61 in 1992, 164 of whom suffered either severe cognitive or memory loss over the following 19 years. A history of ‘alcohol use disorder’, which included people drinking within safe limits, doubled the chance of suffering severe memory loss, but didn’t seem to affect cognitive ability to any great extent.
This suggests that the safe drinking guidelines aren’t safe at all, says lead researcher Dr Ian Lang, and that drinking every day could lead to brain damage and memory loss which isn’t reversible.
(Source: American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 2014; doi: 10.1016/j.jagp.2014.06.001)