Dr Mosley says this is partly because sugar, like alcohol, can be horribly addictive. “Unless you do lots of exercise, all those excess calories will be laid down as fat,” he says. “We also know that people who are overweight or obese are much more prone to depression and anxiety, and that seems to be directly linked to the fat itself. Fat doesn’t just sit there, it sends out inflammatory signals. So when you pile on the pounds, particularly around the waist, you are not only damaging your heart but your brain as well.”
So how can we drink more mindfully?
“Some studies have shown that there are benefits in drinking a glass of red wine, but after a glass or two a day, the benefits drop off pretty dramatically and disadvantages start to emerge, particularly the risk of liver and breast cancer,” he says. “The sensible reaction to all of this is to not give up drinking wine full stop but rather to enjoy your wine, to savour it and have one or two glasses a night. Call it mindful drinking. We have a tendency to gulp things down, but if you slow down and really enjoy what’s in your glass, you’ll probably drink less as well.
“Nowadays, I only drink red wine and I try to follow a 5:2 pattern, taking a couple of days off drinking each week. Lots of liver specialists I’ve spoken to recommend this, to show, if nothing else, that you can break the habit.
“There also seems to be some benefit from drinking wine with a meal, as opposed to on its own. Part of this is down to conviviality, which I think is hugely important for our mental health and our health in general.”
For your non-drinking days, Dr Mosley offers this recipe for an alcohol-free cocktail…