Tuesday 20 August 2019

TV nutritionist warns of ticking time bomb over home drinking

Daniel Davey warns about alcohol
Daniel Davey warns about alcohol

Jim Gallagher

TV nutritionist Daniel Davey has warned of an alcohol time bomb because people are using booze to de-stress instead of exercising.

The food expert, who appears on Virgin Media's Doctor in the House, said drinking patterns were changing dangerously with people consuming more at home.

"There is a growing concern over the level of consumption at home. A lot of alcohol behaviour has moved away from nights out and we are seeing more regular consumption," he said.

"People are using it much more as a way to de-stress and to relax. It's one of life's coping mechanisms and it's become something I have grave concerns about. There are risks like liver disease and overall changes in body composition.

"People do not realise the excess number of calories they are consuming. They could be consuming an extra 700 calories in the evening just from alcohol and that should be the equivalent of their main meal.

"Even from a mental health point of view it's unsafe because that becomes something people are reliant on to relax instead of going for a walk, doing some yoga or doing something that is actually beneficial for reducing stress.

"They are just opening a bottle of wine and using that as their answer.

"But alcohol has a very short-term and superficial type of benefit for that feel-good hormone.

"You get greater imbalances in your well-being and in your perceived feeling of happiness. Alcohol can cause greater levels of anxiety if it's something you become reliant on.

"We all have that feeling after drinking too much at the weekend, with that raised level of anxiousness."

Davey, who works with athletes and sports stars, said he was as fond of a few pints as the next man. But the key was moderation.

"If I'm being really honest, it's a critical element to any of the relationships you have with people," he said. "You cannot be extreme. You have to be seen to be in some way sociable or normal so I love a glass of wine.

"I drink maybe once a week but I try and keep excess consumption to every couple of months rather than every couple of weeks.

"I'm involved in sport, with Leinster Rugby, and we had a big game against Ulster the weekend before last and I went out with my teammates and workmates and we certainly enjoyed a good few pints of Guinness.

"That is part of life. I will have a few pints and a pizza now and again but what is important - and people sometimes miss this - is that there is satisfaction and enjoyment in really good food.

"I have a social media platform called FoodFlicker where I cook, share all my recipes and food nutrition online and I get enormous enjoyment out of that. It's almost like therapy, cooking and preparing nutritious tasty food."

In tonight's episode of Doctor in the House, Daniel and the panel of medical and fitness experts help an obese Dublin couple, Fergal and Carole Wickham, who have twin daughters aged three.

Taxi driver Fergal (45) used to be a champion swimmer but is now a step away from type two diabetes because of his love of takeaways, crisps and beer. Carole (42), who works in marketing, hates exercise and drinks five bottles of wine a week to chill out in front of the TV.

The panel says: "Both are on the brink of chronic illnesses. It's like we have just caught them before they fall over the cliff and that is shocking at their young age."

The experts help the couple to get back on track and after two months Fergal has lost two stone and Carole has got her blood pressure and liver function back to normal.

Davey said: "The Wickhams are a lovely, hard-working family. They did very well and bought into the programme."

'Doctor in The House' airs on Virgin Media One tonight at 9pm.

Sunday Independent

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