Three New Year's Eve buzz kills: drunk walking, fatty drinks, binge drinking - Health & Families - Life and Style - The Independent

Three New Year's Eve buzz kills: drunk walking, fatty drinks, binge drinking

Everyone knows that a good party can turn bad if you hit the bottle too hard. But a December 28 news announcement reports on three surprising New Year's Eve risks that you'll want to avoid.

According to the release, the biggest danger on New Year's Eve is drunk walking - drinking and walking can be as dangerous as drinking and driving, stated health experts from Loyola University in the US. In 2005, the journal Injury Prevention revealed that New Year's is more deadly for pedestrians than any other day of the year.

Another risky culprit? Fattening, high calorie drinks. Alcohols such as vodka, whiskey, and rum have about 100 calories per shot. Even worse, an eight-ounce (237-milliliter) hot buttered rum has 292 calories, and a spiked eggnog of the same portion has 391 calories, according to the Mayo Clinic - and both drinks can be as fattening as a fast-food cheeseburger. Fan of a festive Irish coffee? Irish cream liqueur has 407 calories per four ounces (118 milliliters), according to the Mayo Clinic. A martini can have 400 to 500 calories.

Also, when it comes to metabolizing alcohol, men and women react differently. Women have more body fat and less water in their systems than men do, as well as lower levels of an enzyme important in the breakdown of alcohol, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) in the US. This means they experience the effects of drinking more quickly and for a longer time than men.

For both genders, even one night of excessive drinking can lead to a host of health problems, from liver and brain damage to heart disease and breast cancer, according to research. Even less serious conditions, such as sinus or bladder infections, can be brought on by prolonged partying - and some cases have linked irritable bowel syndrome with too much drinking.

What is a safe level of drinking this holiday? The NIAAA cites that for most adults, drinking up to two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women causes few if any problems. Other experts advise, for special occasions, to drink no more than one alcoholic beverage per hour, and alternate with water, soda, or juice. Never drink on an empty stomach, and one of the most important decisions of your life could be to designate a driver for the evening. One drink equals one 12-ounce (355-milliliter) bottle of beer, one 5-ounce (148-milliliter) glass of wine, or 1.5 ounces (44.4 milliliters) of 80-proof distilled spirits.

This holiday, toast the New Year with a simple glass of champagne. "At 100 calories for 5 ounces [148 milliliters]," said Los Angeles-based Ruth Frechman, a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association, "it's not a bad drink." But she adds that one glass of bubbly should suffice.

Further reading:
http://www.myhealthnewsdaily.com/more-healthful-new-years-eve-drinks-0944/
http://www.helium.com/items/1240147-the-dangers-of-excessive-drinking-this-christmas
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_105954.html

http://www.niaaa.nih.gov

Watch a popular TV ad aimed at young women from UK's National Health Services: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jftfU30xJg

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