It seems that you don’t have to be a frat boy to drink like one. A shocking study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 1 in 6 Americans are binge drinkers. That means they are imbibing between five to eight drinks at a time on a weekly basis.
Sure, a glass of red wine may be good for your heart, but binge drinking can lead to weight gain, depression, and an increased heart attack risk. Plus, you’re much more likely to be involved in a fatal car accident or act of violence when you’re drunk. How much is too much?
The CDC recommends that men have no more than 2 drinks a day, an amount some guys may deem unrealistic. A good rule of thumb is to drink no more than one alcoholic beverage per hour, which gives your liver time to break down the booze. Of course, that doesn’t mean pounding 24 beers in a day!
Promising to drink less is one thing, doing it is far more difficult. These tips will help you cut the extra booze from your everyday life.
Hydrate Between Drinks
Here’s a weird fact about alcohol: It makes you thirsty. That’s why Dr. John Briffa, author of Escape the Diet Trap, suggests matching each beer with a glass of water. Not only will this keep you from binge drinking, it’s also a tried-and-true way of avoiding a hangover.
Avoid Open Bar Traps
Proceed to office parties, wedding receptions, and just about any catered event with caution. When you’re getting drinks handed to you, it can be tempting to view the bar as an all-you-can-drink buffet. Keep tabs on your consumption by setting a “cut off” goal before you step foot into the event.
Be a Weeknight Teetotaller
Even the vino-loving French understand the importance of staying sober once in awhile. The U.K. equivalent of the CDC recently recommended that everyone should have at least two alcohol-free days a week. Practice this tip by eliminating happy hour or a dinner drink a few nights a week— try Monday and Wednesday— to reduce your overall consumption and give your body a chance to recover.
The practice of drinking with your buddies before you go out to the bar/game/party to drink even more is fail-proof way to get totally wasted. If you’re planning a long night out, Dr. Brffia suggests starting with soda. “You will drink much faster if you are thirsty, so have a non-alcoholic drink to quench your thirst before you start drinking alcohol.” No one has to know there’s no jack in your coke.