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Paddy's Day Healthy Drinking

Updated: Sep 25, 2019

How to minimise damage to your health, your physique progress, and your morning after when drinking.

young people drinking and having fun

Before you begin drinking

1. Start with protein

Have a decent portion of protein before hand (excessive alcohol consumption can reduce the rate of muscle protein synthesis Ie muscle repair and growth.)

Also, for those people controlling calories, this will cause you to feel more full and will limit the amount you drink (for a while).

2. Dose up on micronutrients.

Part of the misery of a hangover is a depletion of minerals including magnesium and potassium.

I focus on these two because they are frequently lacking from people’s diets anyway.

Good sources of potassium include avocado, banana, grapefruit, melon, and potato.

Magnesium can be found in spinach, kale, legumes and seafood.

Dioralyte will also work but save that for after.

3. Pre-Hydrate

Alcohol will leave you feeling dehydrated so get a head start by being well hydrated. Aim for 500ml of water per hour during the day before you start drinking alcohol.

During the session

1. Focus on protein

If you are going to eat while you are out drinking, again focus on protein for the same reasons as above.

If you are controlling calories, go for lean protein options where possible (skinless chicken/ turkey, lean beef, shellfish, seafood.)

2. Stay hydrated

As much as possible, try to stay hydrated. This will make the morning after a little more pleasant.

Aim for a glass of water with every alcoholic drink. There is a maximum rate beyond which your body won't absorb water so sip it along with the drink instead of gulping it to get to the drink.

3. Types of drink

Although many people swear that different type of drinks get them drunker faster than other etc, this has not been found to be true.

What is more likely happening is that the taste and strength of some drinks lend themselves better to drinking more units of alcohol per hour than others.

If you are controlling calories aim for drinks that are lower in calories. Use an app like My Fitness Pal (free) to check calorie content of your favourite drinks and check those against the manufacturers website (before going out)

Also consider lower calorie mixers, such as diet soda or sparkling water instead of tonic water.

Before bed / the following day

1. Protein again

Get a solid serving of protein into you after drinking. Roughly a palm-sized portion of meat or dairy, or about 40-60g of protein from plant sources.

2. Dioralyte

Unless you want to chug down a kale and avocado smoothie right before bed, use Dioralyte to replenish minerals that you will have depleted while drinking. This will help you wake a little more human, but you will want to keep that packet handy the next day too.

3. Get physical

It will be the absolute last thing you feel like doing, but getting some non-technical, moderate physical activity will help ease you back into sober life. It will also help your body regain control of blood glucose, which will help curb the binge eating that often follows drinking.

4. Mind your mind

For most people, a hangover will include some low mood, anxiety and general emotional sensitivity. This is not the moment to start re-examining your life's direction, or giving yourself a hard time for any other reason. Give yourself a pass on everything for now, and just enjoy some good memories from the night before.

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