We’ve been repeatedly warned of the cringe-worthy effects that too much alcohol can have on our bodies. According to biochemist Dr. Barry Sears, creator of the Zone diet (www.zonediet.com), alcohol’s negative impact on the body can include inflammatory effects on your organs to potential damage to your DNA. Drinking in excess can also put you at risk for certain cancers, diabetes and liver disease, among other grim conditions. Not to mention: mood swings, sugar cravings, excess calories, liver fat, bad sleep habits, dry skin and poor concentration.
However, the good news is our bodies can actually bounce back from alcohol’s negative effects in a matter of hours. The longer you go without drinking, the stronger and healthier your body and skin become.
Here’s what your body can do in the days, weeks and months after you stop drinking:
1 hour: Your body kicks into full-blown detox mode to clear the alcohol from your bloodstream and prevent alcohol poisoning. An hour after your last drink, your liver starts working overtime. Your pancreas also starts producing extra insulin, which causes intense carb cravings.
12-24 hours: Your blood sugar finally normalises. On a hangover day, make sure you trade sugar and unhealthy fats for fruits. You will also be dehydrated due to the diuretic effect alcohol has so it’s important to drink a lot of water.
48 hours: At this stage, the worst is over (headaches and feeling tired). Your body finishes its biggest detox hurdle.
72 hours: Any hangover side effects are now officially out of your system. Your carb cravings subside. This is when you finally feel like yourself again, physically and mentally.
1 week: You start to sleep better, physical and mental energy to increases, skin begins to look dewier and more youthful as hydration is restored. Issues with dandruff, eczema and rosacea will also improve.
1 month: Your liver fat reduces by 15 per cent, increasing its ability to filter toxins out of the body. There is a reduction in belly fat too. The most significant improvement in your skin occurs at week four according to a study published in The International Journal of Cosmetic Science.
1 year: A year after your last drink, you lose a significant amount of belly fat and your risk of mouth, liver, and breast cancers reduces.