The debate on the merits and demerits of drinking alcohol has been with us for centuries. We drink to have fun, or for some… too much fun! The question always is how much alcohol is safe for me? Or Can I drink?
So far, more than 100 prospective studies show that drinking alcohol in MODERATION can lower the risk of heart attack, stroke, peripheral vascular disease, and sudden cardiac death by as much as 20% to 40%. These heart benefits we all know are the reasons why we drink!
However the risks associated with alcohol intake begin to exceed benefits until middle age, when cardiovascular disease begins to account for increasingly large share of the burden of disease and death. The Harvard Health Study Group has given these guidelines as follows:
- For a person with liver disease, and people taking one or more medications that interact with alcohol, moderate drinking offers little benefit and potential risks.
- For a 30-year-old man, the increased risk of alcohol-related accidents outweighs the possible heart-related benefits of moderate alcohol consumption.
- For a 60-year-old man, a drink a day may offer protection against heart disease that is likely to outweigh potential harm (assuming he isn’t prone to alcoholism).
- For a 60-year-old woman, the benefit/risk calculations are trickier. More than ten times as many women die each year from heart disease than breast cancer! However, studies show that women are far more afraid of developing breast cancer than heart disease, something that must be factored into the equation.
So what’s moderate drinking? That’s 1-2 drinks a day.
and What’s a Drink? Its….12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1½ ounces of spirits (hard liquor such as gin or whiskey). Each of the them delivers about 12 to 14 grams of alcohol.
Yes…You can drink… but my recommendation is:
Drink in Moderation!