Beware of over-indulgence. Picture: Pexels
December is a month when temptation is everywhere. At every event there is almost a guarantee that there is going to be an abundance of food and drinks.

One drink can easily become a few and next thing you have to call a cab because you’ve had too much to drink.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), South Africa is now the third biggest drinking nation in Africa, and the 19th leading nation in the world with the latest data rating consumption at 11.5 per litre per capita in 2015, up from 11 litres the year before.

By 2025, WHO estimates that South Africa’s alcohol consumption is expected to increase to 12.1 per litre per capita.

The financial cost of alcohol-related harms to the economy was estimated at a net loss of between R165 billion and R236bn in 2009.

While drinking is arguably one of the relaxing methods preferred by many South Africans, excessive drinking is sadly linked to many health hazards and negatively affects the brain’s communication pathways, mood disruptions and poor co-ordination.

It can also lead to heart problems including cardiomyopathy or enlarged heart muscle and arrhythmias, stroke and high blood pressure.

Robyn Chalmers, director of communications at AB InBev Africa and SAB, said: “The South African government defines moderate alcohol consumption as no more than two standard drinks, 340ml or a half quarter of beer per day for women and no more than three standard drinks per day for men.”

She said the rule of thumb is a maximum of one unit of alcohol per hour, which constitutes 10ml of pure alcohol, depending on one’s weight.

“Our bodies can process only one unit of alcohol each hour.

“Beware that if you weigh less than 68kg your body will need more time to process the same amount of alcohol.”

According to the Department of Health one can lower the risk of drinking by drinking no more than three 340ml glasses of alcoholic drinks for men.

“Alcohol is processed differently dependent on a number of factors, including whether the person has eaten, how quickly they consume alcohol, whether they are on medication and the strength of alcohol.

“Consumers need to monitor their alcohol intake and the time they take to consume an alcoholic beverage.”