Drinkers adopt 'zebra striping' trick with multiple health benefits

Zebtas in Tsavo West National Park, Kenya
-Credit: (Image: Getty)

Drinkers have adopted a new rule designed to keep you healthier and happier - as well as stretching your night out by allowing you to party for longer and spend less money. According to a new study, a third of pub trips now involve no alcohol - and when people are drinking a quarter are using a technique called 'zebra striping'.

The number of adults drinking every week has dropped by 2.6million between 2021 and 2024.

According to Patrick Pistolesi, expert at NIO Cocktails, following the zebra striping rule is the best way to fully enjoy your night out. The trick means following a ‘1 for 1 rule’, drinking a glass of water per every alcoholic drink.

Patrick said: "Alcohol can slow down the digestive process, causing discomfort or bloating. But drinking water regularly helps to maintain good digestion, so you can feel good and enjoy your evening without any discomfort."

Following the 1 for 1 rule can help with hydration. Patrick said: "By following the 1 for 1 rule by having one glass of water per cocktail will help to keep hydration level higher. This could help you to continue enjoying socialising for longer periods.”

According to the NHS, to keep your risk of alcohol-related harm low:

  • men and women are advised not to drink more than 14 units of alcohol a week on a regular basis

  • if you drink as much as 14 units a week, it's best to spread this evenly over 3 or more days

  • if you're trying to reduce the amount of alcohol you drink, it's a good idea to have several alcohol-free days each week

  • if you're pregnant or trying to become pregnant, the safest approach is to not drink alcohol at all to keep risks to your baby to a minimum

Regular or frequent drinking means drinking alcohol most days and weeks.

The risk to your health is increased by drinking any amount of alcohol on a regular basis.

A unit of alcohol is 8g or 10ml of pure alcohol, which is about:

  • half a pint of lower to normal-strength lager/beer/cider (ABV 3.6%)

  • a single small shot measure (25ml) of spirits (25ml, ABV 40%)

A small glass (125ml, ABV 12%) of wine contains about 1.5 units of alcohol.

The benefits of drinking less

Many people who reduce their alcohol intake notice benefits, which can include:

Short-term benefits:

  • feeling better in the mornings

  • being less tired and more energetic

  • better-looking skin

  • saving some money

Long-term benefits:

  • lower blood pressure

  • lower risk of stroke, hypertension, cancer and liver disease

  • lower cholesterol levels

  • better mood, memory and quality of sleep

  • help with weight management