A New Study Says There’s No Amount of Healthy Drinking

In worst-case scenarios, severe alcohol-induced brain damage may impair people’s ability to lead an independent life. These effects are only temporary, but chronic alcohol abuse may cause permanent changes in your brain, often leading to impaired brain function (9, 10, 11). Some people drink small amounts at a time, while others tend to binge drink.

is alcohol good for you

“It’s another thing, at certain levels, to find a risk, and that’s what this new research found.” Madeleine, Prevention’s assistant editor, has a history with health writing from her experience as an editorial assistant at WebMD, and from her personal research at university. She is alcohol good for you graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in biopsychology, cognition, and neuroscience—and she helps strategize for success across Prevention’s social media platforms. In the business world, founders are adopting a sober lifestyle and reaping the rewards as well.

Having a Drink or 2 a Day Is Not Healthier Than Abstaining From Alcohol, Study Shows

We’ve all heard about the antioxidant benefits of red wine — and research has found that whiskey can have a similar effect. According to SAMHSA, in 2019, 25.8% of adults over age 18 reported that they had consumed alcohol excessively in the past month. While the 2020 review suggests that consuming small amounts of alcohol may carry some benefit, consuming large amounts, even occasionally, remains detrimental. Sorry to be a buzz-kill, but that nightly glass or two of wine is not improving your health. And people who have a drink or two together — rather than, say, sodas — are likely to spend more time talking.

Do non drinkers live longer?

Moderate Drinking and Longevity

For example, one study following more than 333,000 adults for about eight years found light-to-moderate drinkers were more than 20 percent less likely to die prematurely from all causes and from cardiovascular disease in particular than people who never drank at all.

A drink before a meal can improve digestion or offer a soothing respite at the end of a stressful day; the occasional drink with friends can be a social tonic. These physical and social effects may also contribute to health and well-being. “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. Dry county residents were 7 percent more likely to be hospitalized for atrial fibrillation but 11 percent less likely to be hospitalized for heart attacks compared with people in wet counties. 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).

How many drinks is too many drinks? It’s complicated.

They recommend no more than two drinks a day for men or one daily drink for women. One drink, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes, could be a 12-ounce (oz) beer, 8 oz of malt liquor, a 5-oz glass of wine, or a 1.5-oz shot of hard liquor like gin, rum, vodka, or whiskey. Walter Willett, a professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, questions the conclusion that the https://ecosoberhouse.com/article/genetics-of-alcoholism-is-alcohol-abuse-hereditary/ cons of drinking always outweigh the pros. This article will explore drinking habits, the potential health benefits of drinking in moderation, the risks, and other effects of alcohol on the body. If you’re in good shape, moderate drinking makes you 25% to 40% less likely to have a heart attack, stroke, or hardened arteries. This may be in part because small amounts of alcohol can raise your HDL (“good” cholesterol) levels.

Drinking alcohol in moderation appears to reduce insulin resistance, fighting the main symptoms of diabetes (47, 48, 49, 50). However, studies investigating the link between alcohol and weight have provided inconsistent results (31). It’s produced by yeasts that digest sugar in certain carb-rich foods, such as grapes — used to make wine — or grains — used to make beer. Generally referred to as “alcohol,” ethanol is the substance that makes you drunk. Despite this, the question of beneficial effects of alcohol has been a contentious issue in research for years. The contents of this website are for educational purposes and are not intended to offer personal medical advice.

Recent Studies

In 2020 alone, about 4 percent of all new cancer cases worldwide were attributable to alcohol consumption, or about 741,000 cases, another study found. A few types of cancer — tumors of the esophagus, liver, and breast — accounted for most alcohol-related cases. And while heavy drinking and binge drinking explained the majority of these cancer cases, 14 percent were due to moderate drinking. Two studies found that drinking alcohol was able to mediate the risk of getting a common cold. We live in a reductionist age, in which every longitudinal effect is explained away at the most fundamental possible level.

Stockwell and his colleagues, who published their meta-analysis in JAMA Network Open on Mar. 31, set out to correct some of those issues. When older adults exceed these limits, the study found, their risk of losing years of their life to disease and disability begins to rise. With each additional drink per day, they put themselves at higher risk for lost years of life and function. Of course, relationships have their own chemistry, a language of dopamine, oxytocin, vasopressin, etc. But I think that in the rush to decipher the bodily molecules, we are missing the essential lesson, which is that some of the most valuable health benefits don’t come from compounds that can be bottled, or condensed into a gel capsule.

Even a Little Alcohol Can Harm Your Health

That’s more than two drinks a day for men and more than one drink a day for women. Chronic alcohol abuse can wreak havoc on your body and brain, increasing your risk of many diseases. If you are a heavy drinker, following a healthy diet and exercise routine will still be beneficial for your health, but not as much as getting your alcohol consumption under control, or abstaining completely. For example, it can cause liver damage — including cirrhosis — brain damage, heart failure, diabetes, cancer and susceptibility to infections (9, 54, 58, 72, 73, 74).

For quite some time now, moderate drinking — especially a nightly glass of red wine — has been considered a healthy habit that might help you live a little longer than people who don’t drink at all. The increased life span seen among light to moderate drinkers compared to teetotalers is mostly due to lower rates of heart disease and possibly stroke and diabetes. Researchers found no significantly reduced risk of death from any cause among those who drank occasionally, or drank less than one drink per week on average, compared to those considered lifetime nondrinkers. The study concluded that not only was there no significant health benefit to moderate alcohol consumption, but also that drinking a low-volume daily serving of alcohol, less than 1 oz for women and around 1.5 oz for men, increased the risk of death.

“Moderate drinking seems to be good for the heart and circulatory system, and probably protects against type 2 diabetes and gallstones. Heavy drinking is a major cause of preventable death.” “Don’t get me started on resveratrol, a supplement based on an antioxidant found in the skin of red grapes which, in early studies done in test tubes and with animals, was proposed to account for the heart-healthy benefits of wine,” Peele grouses. In other words, “it was never red wine to start with, but beverage alcohol.”

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). Conversely, drinking moderately has been linked to a reduced risk of dementia — especially in older adults (16, 17, 18).

Ways Alcohol Is Legitimately Healthy

Knowing the health benefits of some alcoholics is great, but it’s equally important to know which drinks to skip. If you’re trying to stay healthy, take these drinks out or rotation, Kober says. While alcohol certainly has some negative health effects, there can also be advantages to moderate consumption. Dust off the bottle opener or corkscrew and get ready to crack one drink per day (for women), or maybe even two (for men) to get these sweet alcohol health benefits without the hangover. While these studies stress that no level of drinking is risk-free, newer research suggests that you can drink safely in very small amounts, but it’s much less than you might think. The research shows that while a small amount of alcohol may reduce risk for heart disease and diabetes, it starts to raise risk for other diseases, especially cancer, from the first sip.

Men can bump it up to four-fifths of a drink at age 60 and almost an entire drink at age 70 — 90 percent of one. Once they hit 80, women can let loose with four-fifths of a drink and men can go ahead and fill their glass. New research suggests that the risks of even moderate or light drinking may outweigh the supposed benefits and that, in fact, when it comes to some health risks, there may be no safe level of alcohol consumption. That happy-hour cocktail or glass of wine with dinner may make you less likely to develop type 2 diabetes. Scientists aren’t sure why exactly, but it might be that a drink or two helps your body deal with high blood sugar levels in a healthy way.

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