Is drinking alcohol part of a healthy lifestyle? American Heart Association

If you find yourself drinking more and more over time, consider cutting back. Epidemiologic studies have long provided evidence of the harm alcohol can cause to individual health and to society as a whole. Newer studies have identified an association between low to moderate alcohol consumption and reduced CHD risk and overall mortality.

Conversely, drinking moderately has been linked to a reduced risk of dementia — especially in older adults (16, 17, 18). In heavy drinkers, binge drinking may cause your liver to become inflamed. In worst-case scenarios, is alcohol good for you liver cells die and get replaced with scar tissue, leading to a serious condition called cirrhosis (3, 6, 7). Liver diseases caused by alcohol consumption are collectively known as alcoholic liver diseases.

How do I know if I’m drinking too much?

Most U.S. adults drink at some point in their lifetime, according to survey data from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). In any given year, two-thirds of adults drink at some point, and in a typical month, more than half of people consume alcohol. For many of us, alcohol is an automatic part of the social events that punctuate our lives.

  • The best-known positive health effect of alcohol is a small increase in HDL, or good cholesterol.
  • They also mention that drinking less is better for a person’s health than drinking more.
  • Over time, alcohol may make you gain weight if you drink it in excess.
  • To reduce drinking, a person may plan to have several drink-free days each week.

[3] Each delivers about 12 to 14 grams of alcohol on average, but there is a wider range now that microbrews and wine are being produced with higher alcohol content. You may have heard of the term „beer belly.“ Still, the belief that alcohol causes increased fat stores around the abdominal area is inaccurate. A small percentage of the calories you drink from alcohol turns into fat. In people who have already been diagnosed with cancer, alcohol intake could also affect the risk of developing a new cancer. Alcohol can raise the levels of estrogen, a hormone important in the growth and development of breast tissue. “For the general population, I do not believe there is sufficient evidence that the overall risks outweigh the benefits to support recommending against drinking about a drink a day among those that prefer to do so,” Marcus says.

Shifting Benefits and Risks

Moderate alcohol consumption may increase life expectancy, while alcohol abuse is a strong risk factor for premature death. Heavy or high-risk drinking is defined as more than three drinks on any day or more than seven drinks a week for women and for men older than age 65, and more than four drinks on any day or more than 14 drinks a week for men age 65 and younger. Moderate alcohol use for healthy adults generally means up to one drink a day for women and up to two drinks a day for men. On the other hand, if you’re a light to moderate drinker and you’re healthy, you can probably continue to drink alcohol as long as you do so responsibly. In the U.S., 1 drink is usually considered to be 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1½ ounces of spirits (hard liquor such as gin or whiskey).

is alcohol good for you

Moderate drinking is defined as no more than one standard drink per day for women and no more than two for men. Numerous factors can predispose people to problematic drinking, such as family history, social environment, mental health and genetics. Simultaneously, alcohol abuse is the third main cause of preventable death in the US, as it’s a large factor in chronic diseases, accidents, traffic crashes and social problems (68). As a result, drinking alcohol with meals may cut the rise in blood sugar by 16–37% more than water.