Thursday, January 26, 2006


No, really - THIS time I mean it.

'Cause I just read this:

NICKY Taylor, 39, is stumbling around a nightclub dance floor in the early hours of the morning, clutching a bottle of Smirnoff Ice.

In five hours, she has drunk equal to four bottles of wine in a potentially fatal mix of cocktails, spirits and beers.

She is drunk. She has vomited once, but Nicky carries on, determined to keep up with her female companions.

This ugly scene is not a typical night for Nicky. In an experiment for a British TV documentary, the single mother spent a month matching the bingers drink-for-drink to see what it did to her body and mind.

Over 30 days, going out five nights a week, Nicky consumed a staggering 516 units of alcohol -- 17.2 units a day. Guidelines say women should drink no more than two or three units a day, and a maximum of 14 a week.

One unit is 8g of alcohol, or a small glass (125ml) of wine, half a pint (284ml) of beer or a pub measure of spirits. But stronger beers may contain 2.5 alcohol units per half pint.

Nicky hopes her experiment will open people's eyes to the gravity of binge-drinking in the same way Morgan Spurlock's film Super Size Me (in which the American filmmaker ate McDonald's for 30 days) did to the dangers of junk food.

"What I discovered shocked me to the core," says Nicky, who was monitored by medical experts during the experiment.

She was chosen because her bosses wanted a responsible woman in her 30s. She went into it with gusto, but emerged depressed and exhausted. Her home and professional lives were suffering and she developed an increased risk of liver problems and alcoholism.

Her body fat increased from 37.4 per cent to 38.9 per cent, she put on more than 3kg, and her skin became so damaged she had the complexion of a 50-year-old.

Over time, with the dehydrating effects of alcohol no longer taking their toll, her skin will return to normal. But doctors said that in another five months she might have seen signs of cirrhosis.

Here's Nicky before:


Here, if you can believe it, she is after the 30-day experiment:


Yikes. Now, in my bartending days I remember observing that nothing ages a woman like drink. I saw some mid-30's ish ladies who looked 15 years older, thanks in part to a daily diet of hard liquor (and cigarettes and bad food). After years of that a woman (at least the ones I saw) had puffy faces, bloated torsos, and skinny arms and legs. And chalky, dull skin, tired eyes, straw-like hair, and no muscle tone. It's not purty.

But I always thought it took years of daily hard liquor drinking to ravage a body like that. It's hard for me to believe that 30 days of drinking could do that kind of damage. I dunno, I guess maybe "17.2 units" a day could make a gal retain a little water. But I'm a little skeptical of those photos.

(Story link courtesy of MD)


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