What Happens When You Stop Drinking Alcohol Before 30

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Shorter Version

Est. Reading Time: 3 Minutes

From cocktails at happy hour after work and beers at the tailgate to a nice glass of wine at dinner, drinking alcohol is a major part of the American diet. Unfortunately, many Americans abuse the privilege of drinking, with about 1 in 6 U.S. adults binge drinking about 4 times per month (that’s 4 or more drinks for women and 5 or more drinks for men on one occasion). Others feel addicted to alcohol and binge drink even more often than that.

This drinking habit can lead to detrimental health effects including increased risk of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, malnutrition, certain cancers, and substance abuse.

If you think you may fall into the category of “binge drinker” or often times enjoy several drinks throughout the week, you may want to consider these health benefits when you stop drinking alcohol before 30.

A happier heart

Limiting alcohol to 0-2 drinks per day decreases your risk of developing high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke, and heart attack (keep reading for more on moderate drinking). A little bit of red wine can make your heart smile, though, by increasing HDL levels (the “good” cholesterol).

Better Zzz’s when you stop drinking alcohol

Having a drink before bed might help you fall asleep initially, but it will actually disrupt your sleep later in the night by decreasing melatonin production (the hormone that makes you sleepy). When drinking several drinks before bedtime, your sleep quality is especially diminished leading to increased daytime sleepiness.

Stronger immune system

Drinking less alcohol promotes a stronger immune system that will keep you healthier while keeping germs at bay. Just one night of heavy drinking will increase the risk of getting an infection for the next 24 hours. Drinking less alcohol means a stronger immune system that can fight back the bad germs to keep you healthy.

Better weight management

Alcoholic beverages add a significant amount of calories to our diet, and those calories add up when you mix in simple syrups and fruit juices or prefer heavier craft beers. These alcoholic drinks also have very little nutritional benefits (think “empty calories”) and lead to feelings of satiety causing you to eat less nutrient-dense, and low-calorie foods. By switching to low-calorie non-alcoholic drinks like sparkling or flavored water, you’ll find it easier to manage your weight goals. 

Lowered risk for diabetes

Alcohol is quickly absorbed right into the bloodstream before any other nutrients and causes blood sugars to spike easily. When you swap alcoholic beverages for unsweetened and low-calorie drinks, not only are your blood sugars less likely to spike and crash but you’ll save room for more nutrient-dense foods.

But wait there’s more!

Limiting alcohol consumption can also increase mental clarity, improve memory, and enhance cognitive function and productivity. Digestion and absorption of key nutrients are improved because the liver doesn’t have to focus on eliminating the added toxins from alcohol (yes, alcohol is toxic to our bodies).

Drinking less often and focusing on eating more whole foods will help boost mood and decrease the risk of depression and anxiety.

You’re also more likely to have stronger, more genuine relationships with friends and family with this better mood.

Sip in moderation

Moderate drinking is known to have possible health benefits including raising HDL cholesterol levels (the “good” cholesterol), improving digestion during a meal, and enhancing mealtime socialization. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend drinking in moderation with no more than two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women. One drink is considered 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1 ½ ounce of hard liquor or distilled spirits. Keep reading our actionable steps below for how to transition to a moderate drinking pattern to improve your health.

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Actionable Steps


Read the longer version

To learn more, read these articles reviewed by our professionals: Is Alcohol Unhealthy by McKel Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN, 7 Benefits When you Stop Drinking Alcohol by The Recovery Village, What Happens to Your Body When You Stop Drinking by EatingWell.


Consider how much you drink

Are you a binge drinker who drinks more than 4 or 5 drinks per occasion? Are you a heavy drinker who drinks more than 8 drinks for women and 15 drinks for men? If you answered yes to either of these, keep reading for ways to limit your alcohol intake.


Swap your favorite alcoholic drinks for mocktails

Find healthier ways to sip and socialize with mocktails made from kombucha tea, flavored seltzers, iced teas, and fruit infused waters.


Get your friends on board

It helps to have a support group when you decide to change your health habits and stop drinking before 30. Sharing your goals with your friends will make it easier to stay motivated and make drinking at social events less tempting.


Socialize with non-drinking activities

Change up your social plans to not include alcohol. Try a fun activity like going for a group hike, bike ride, or bowling. Make dinner or brunch at a friend’s house instead of eating out.


Drink more water

Even if you continue to drink in moderation, drink at least 16 ounces of water after each alcoholic drink to re-hydrate your system. This will also slow down how many drinks you consume over the course of one event.

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About the Author

shannon costello

Shannon Costello

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN)

Hi, I’m Shannon! I’m a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Culinary Coach, and Personal Trainer. After dedicating over 8 years to the corporate wellness world, I began my own nutrition practice. Chef Shannon Nutrition focuses on plant-based nutrition and culinary coaching. My passion for culinary nutrition grew when I worked as a cooking instructor for a culinary entertainment company. After several years as an instructor and event coordinator, I moved into the role of Director of Culinary Entertainment where I developed all the recipes, menus, and instructor trainings. My dietetic’s expertise helped the company expand into allergy-friendly and health conscious menus to suit all clients.
Full Bio | LinkedIn | 1:1 Coaching

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