Moderate drinking: Women and men, alcohol limits, benefits, risks

He’s a medical toxicologist at University Hospitals in Cleveland. He specializes in addiction, also emergency medicine. Drinking in moderation means you’ll likely need to turn down a drink now and again. Planning exactly how you’ll say no—in a quick, polite, and convincing way—can make it easier for you to stick with your convictions and avoid a spiral of uncomfortable excuses.

The opposite of moderate drinking is either heavy drinking or binge drinking. This “increased risk” category contains three different drinking pattern groups. Overall, nearly 20% of people who drink in this category have alcohol use disorder. A typical 25-ounce (750 ml) bottle of table wine holds about 5 “standard” drinks, each containing about 5 ounces.

Short-Term Health Risks

For many, it may be difficult to maintain low-risk drinking habits. Even moderate amounts of alcohol can significantly impair driving performance and your ability to operate other machinery, whether or not you feel the effects of alcohol. Get to know what 5 ounces looks like by measuring it out at home. That way you can estimate how many standard drinks you’re being served in a restaurant or bar that uses large glasses and generous serving sizes. In this video, Dr. Bobby Lazzara explains the potential benefits of alcohol for your heart and emphasizes the importance of moderation. During pregnancy, drinking may cause the unborn baby to have brain damage and other problems.

  • It found that drinking moderately reduces stress, tension, self-consciousness and even depression.
  • It gets broken down and then cleared from the body, but it kind of touches everything else along the way just because it is going through your entire bloodstream.
  • There are effective treatments for alcohol use disorder.
  • So can we talk about some other effects of quitting for a while?

And the pathologic or disease form of this would be alcohol withdrawal. But that also is the reason why people who drink regularly can get things like high blood pressure and can get mood changes and other psychiatric and psychologic features from this as well. Secondly, despite the ongoing message to drink in moderation (and again, that’s up to one drink a day for women and up to two for men), binge drinking the U.S. is fairly prevalent. Up to a quarter of all adults 21 years and older report binge drinking in the past month, per the Scientific Report of the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. And binge drinking doesn’t have any health perks, plus it’s quite risky.

Health Benefits of Moderate Drinking

Studies have found that with the same amount of drink, blood alcohol concentrations are at their highest just before menstruation and at their lowest on the first day after menstruation. The threshold for safe alcohol consumption is closely linked to body weight. Studies have shown that females begin having alcohol-related problems at lower levels of alcohol consumption than males. Consuming too much alcohol for too long can be damaging to health.

moderate drinking

Drinking alcohol in excess can negatively impact your health, including almost every part of your body. High alcohol consumption is not considered safe, and has the potential to damage vital organs, as well as affect your behavior and mood. Excessive drinking includes binge drinking, heavy drinking, and any drinking by pregnant women or people younger than age 21.

Risks of heavy alcohol use

As a result, “abstainers” looked relatively unhealthy, and “moderate” drinkers, many of whom exercise and eat well, looked pretty good. These factors combine to result in a lower rate of cardiovascular disease in people who drink moderate amounts of alcohol than in people who do not drink alcohol at all. In addition to the heart benefits, moderate alcohol intake can slightly lower your risk of type 2 diabetes, stroke and Alzheimer’s disease. Alcohol can have several positive effects on the body’s heart and blood vessels — the cardiovascular system. Alcohol thins your blood, too, making it less likely that your arteries will form a blood clot. Moderate alcohol intake can lower inflammation throughout your body, as well, and that can also have a positive effect on your cardiovascular system.

  • Of course, this is easier to do at home—but you can try communicating your needs to the bartender or waiter.
  • When it comes to your health, drinking alcohol can be a balancing act.
  • Macie JepsonYou mentioned better sleep, not necessarily the case with alcohol.
  • The heart-protective theory was based on the finding that moderate drinkers had better cardiovascular health than both nondrinkers (by a little bit) and heavy drinkers (by a lot).
  • Once you are able to control how much you drink, you may find that you’re better able to enjoy family gatherings, social events, and work events.

In 2018, when Hartz and her colleagues compared thousands of moderate and very light drinkers (one or two drinks per week), the advantages of moderate consumption basically disappeared. By 2022 the World Heart Federation stated that alcohol did not protect people. Genetic, psychological, social and environmental factors can impact how drinking alcohol affects your body and behavior.

However, for many people this is not realistic, nor is this what most people want. All states in the United States have adopted 0.08% (80 mg/dL) as the legal limit for operating a motor vehicle for drivers aged 21 years or older (except for Utah, which adopted a 0.05% legal limit in 2018). However, drivers younger than 21 are not allowed to operate a motor vehicle with any level of alcohol in their system.