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top tips Expert reveals how drinking alcohol can damage your looks

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Christmas drinks (stock)

Christmas drinks (stock)

Christmas drinks (stock)

EVERYTIME Pogues front man Shane McGowan appears on TV the musician is faced with horrified keyboard warriors making cruel remarks about his appearance after years of boozing and drug taking.

Fans of McGowan are just happy that he is alive to contribute but he embodies the grim reality of what alcoholism can do to you – something not seen on glossy and polished TV show with a line of mostly successful people talking to the host.

McGowan's wife Victoria Mary Clarke responded after he was on the Late Late Busk Special by saying: “Shane is Fairytale of New York.

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Star turn: Shane MacGowan and wife Victoria Mary Clarke on ‘The Late Late Show’. Photo: Andres Poveda

Star turn: Shane MacGowan and wife Victoria Mary Clarke on ‘The Late Late Show’. Photo: Andres Poveda

Andres Poveda

Star turn: Shane MacGowan and wife Victoria Mary Clarke on ‘The Late Late Show’. Photo: Andres Poveda

“We want to see everyone looking young and beautiful, and happy, and shiny - especially on telly. And real life’s not like that.”

“Obviously, Shane kind of embodies his Fairytale of New York song because he is that guy. He is the junkie, he is the slut, he is the guy in the hospital gone adrift - he’s all those things.”

“But that’s the ugly side of life - the side we don’t want to look at."

Sales of wine and beer spiked with the on-set of Covid-10 and Drinkaware warns today says people often forget the toll alcohol takes on your body and your looks because of glamorous TV ads and movies.

Drinkaware CEO, Sheena Horgan said drinking too much can have a detrimental effect on your appearance with early warning signs being very dull skin and weight gain from way too much sugar.

She said: "We already know that 1 in 4 adults reported drinking more during lockdown, so it’s worth taking the time to consider if now is a good time to cut down or cut out alcohol to protect your health and wellbeing.

“Irish adults are more health conscious than ever. Especially with the year we’ve had, we’re all trying to look after our own and our family’s health as best we can. Before you head to the fridge for a glass of wine or a beer, it’s worth thinking about the impact this can have in the future.”

Kidneys

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caucasian smiling woman applies moisturizer onto face

caucasian smiling woman applies moisturizer onto face

caucasian smiling woman applies moisturizer onto face

Alcohol reduces the kidney’s ability to function properly. This is because alcohol is a diuretic, so it causes your body to produce more urine. This means you’ll lose water and sodium more quickly, which can leave your skin looking dull and dry. There is also some evidence that alcohol may be a trigger for rosacea (facial redness or flushing) and can worsen the condition if you already have it.

Sleep

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Stock image

Stock image

Stock image

Alcohol is a sedative that disrupts the sleep/wake cycle (our internal 24-hour clock) and suppresses melatonin, which regulates the sleep cycle. Once the initial sedative effects wear off and as the body reacts to the effects of alcohol, sleep quality is reduced. This means that you’ll have less energy the next day so you’re less likely to keep active commitments like the gym or an exercise class.

Sugar

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Sugar is added to many foods. Stock photo

Sugar is added to many foods. Stock photo

Sugar is added to many foods. Stock photo

Alcohol has almost the same calories per gram as pure fat and depending on the type, the sugar content can be high. One gram of alcohol contains seven calories. This is almost the same as pure fat (nine calories). Adding mixers such as soft drinks will further increase the calorie and sugar content of the drink.

For example, one bottle of white wine (750ml, 12.5%) has 22.5 grams of sugar. That’s the equivalent of 4.5 teaspoons of sugar! And this doesn’t even take into account any late-night snacking or junk food you might eat the following day.

Alcohol is made from natural sugar and starch. However, the number of calories and sugar in different types of drinks will vary depending on the fermentation and distillation processes involved.

Weight

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fat woman measuring her stomach

fat woman measuring her stomach

fat woman measuring her stomach

In Ireland, only 40pc of people now have a healthy weight, while 6 in 10 adults are overweight or obese. This can contribute to the development of a range of health conditions including heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer.

Alcohol can have a negative effect on blood sugar levels. When you drink alcohol, your liver will work to get rid of any alcohol in your system instead of its normal functions like glucose production. This can lead to low blood sugar levels (hypoglycaemia). Over time, this can increase the risk of developing alcohol-related health issues.

Alcohol is high in calories and sugar. These are ‘empty calories’ with no nutritional value or benefit.

Drinking less or can be achieved by making small, positive changes that can work for you. Being more mindful about the way you drink and how often is a great place to start.

If you slip up and drink more than you intended at a family occasion or one post-work drink turned into more, that’s okay. Take time to reflect on your reason for cutting down in the first place. And think about all the positive benefits this change will bring to your life and try again.

Remember, everyone’s motivation is different. So, choose small changes that work for you.

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