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Moderate Drinking Helps Your Health

A couple enjoying a drinkA large-scale review study has confirmed the general health benefits of a small amount of alcohol everyday in most people.

The study, conducted by James H. O’Keefe from the University of Missouri and his colleagues, conducted an extensive literature review on existing studies that examined the relationship between the amount of alcoholic intake and one’s health.

Light to moderate alcohol consumption (up to 1 drink daily for women and 1 or 2 drinks daily for men) is associated with protective benefits for the heart. Increasingly excessive alcoholic consumption results in a proportional worsening of health outcomes in most people.

The benefits, the researchers discovered, don’t appear to be specific to a certain type of alcoholic beverage. They concluded, therefore, that the ethanol itself in alcohol, rather than specific components of various alcoholic beverages, appears to be the major factor in conferring health benefits. The researchers believe the cardiovascular protection is obtained mainly through improvements in insulin sensitivity and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol.

The study also found that a small, daily amount of alcohol consumption is associated with better health than less frequent alcohol consumption.

Drinking more than one or two drinks per day confers no additional heart benefits. In fact, anything over the 1 or 2 drink/day limit found heart outcomes that were worse than not drinking at all.

Binge drinking, even among otherwise light drinkers, increases cardiovascular events — such as heart attacks — and the chances of death.

The researchers used the standard research definition of a drink — a 12-ounce bottle of beer, a 5-ounce glass of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled liquor which all have between 13 and 15 grams of alcohol.

The health benefits of a once daily alcoholic beverage include reductions in the incidence of coronary heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, congestive heart failure, stroke, and dementia.

Despite the health benefit of moderate alcohol consumption, the researchers warn doctors against advising people to drink.

“Sobering statistics warn that moderate daily drinking is a slippery slope that many individuals cannot safely navigate,” said the researchers in the study.

The study appears in the September 11 2007 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Moderate Drinking Helps Your Health

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2018). Moderate Drinking Helps Your Health. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 25, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Aug 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
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