How Dangerous Is Alcohol for You, Actually?

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Why is alcohol bad for your body?

The central theses

  1. Heavy drinking is closely linked to a number of health problems, including cancer, liver disease, heart failure, and a shortened lifespan.
  2. On the other hand, several new studies seem to show that even moderate drinking – 1 to 2 drinks a day – can shorten your life and increase your risk of illness.
  3. Read on to find out what the scientific literature actually says about how safe it is to drink.

There is no doubt that heavy drinking is a ticket to early death.

The CDC Estimates 88,000 Americans die each year from alcohol-related causes, including car accidents, cornucopia of cancer, and liver disease.

There are fifteen million Americans believed have an alcohol addiction disorder, and until recently, alcohol killed more people than opioids.

Not to mention the catastrophic effects of alcoholism life quality, Mental health, productivity, and Relationships.

Of course you've heard it all before and I don't have to tell you that drinking too much can ruin and shorten your life.

However, you have probably also heard that moderate drinking is good for you. This is the claim that doctors, scientists, and beverage manufacturers have been advocating for years – drinking heavily is bad for you and drinking moderately is beneficial.

But now the pendulum is swinging the other way after a series of studies have been published that show that alcohol is dangerous in any amount.

For example, CNN published an article entitled "One drink a day could shorten your life" in relation to such a study (which you will learn about shortly).

Suddenly, the fashionable opinion is that any alcohol is bad for you, period and even moderate drinking is an invitation to long-term health problems.

But is that true?

Shorten your life by drinking a glass or two of wine or beer every night?

Well, the simple answer is no, probably not.

The more complicated answer is that we still don't know much about the long-term effects of alcohol and there is no one-size-fits-all answer to how much alcohol you can safely drink.

What exactly does alcohol do to your body and how much can you drink safely?

Read on to find out the answer.

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What happens to your body when you drink alcohol?

Alcohol, also known as ethanol, is a chemical made by fermenting grains, fruits, and other carbohydrate-containing foods.

When taken, it has drug-like properties and serves as a calorie source.

The most obvious and immediate effects of alcohol are psychological. Alcohol is a Central nervous system depressantand in small to moderate amounts reduces anxiety, increases sociability, and causes feelings of mild euphoria. In higher quantities it can Impair perception and judgment, slow response time, and lead to Stupor, loss of consciousness and finally death.

Why is alcohol bad for your body?

Alcohol is not only a powerful drug, it is also a powerful drug used as an energy source (Calories) by the body, although it is processed very differently than carbohydrates, fats or proteins.

When broken down in the liver alcohol produced called a toxic compound acetaldehyde. Fortunately, acetaldehyde is quickly converted to another compound called acetate, which is then converted to carbon dioxide and water.

The body is well equipped Metabolize small amounts of acetaldehyde before it can do harm, but it can only process as much per hour. For this reason, most of the negative effects of alcohol are due to frequent over-drinking, which means that the body does not have enough time to remove all of the acetaldehyde from the blood before devastating the body.

Therefore, the statement "alcohol is a toxin" is not entirely correct. It can be excessively toxic, but also many other substances that we consume regularly.

High blood sugar can also be toxic, a scan sodium, potassium, and ironThat is why the body works hard to keep the blood levels of these substances in a healthy range.

Likewise, the body is easily able to control the blood levels of alcohol and acetaldehyde as long as you don't drink excessively.

However, a side effect of alcohol digestion is a reduction in fat burning throughout the body.

While the body is busy breaking down alcohol and acetaldehyde, it stops digestion of other nutrients while alcohol is still in the blood. How to eat fat or carbohydrates will be saved as body fat (in the case of dietary fat) or glycogen (in the case of carbohydrates) until your body removes the alcohol from your blood.

So if you have excess calories and you consume a lot of dietary fat, alcohol can lead to excessive fat storage.

What if you eat on maintenance or in a calorie deficit?

In this case, alcohol has little or no effect on body fat.

The body has no efficient way to convert acetaldehyde to body fat, so little to no alcohol is ever converted directly in body fat. Unless you also eat a lot of dietary fat and carbohydrates and have excess calories, alcohol will not help you gain fat.

There is even evidence that small amounts of alcohol can have positive effects on body composition. Research shows, for example, that people who drink moderately tend to do so be slimmer than people who don't drink.

There are several explanations for this.

For one thing, moderate alcohol consumption tends to do so reduce Long-term and improved food intake Insulin sensitivity.

Alcohol is also unique in that it has a high thermal effect, with about 20% of the calories in alcohol burned during digestion.

Although you have probably read that alcohol contains 7 calories per gram, it is actually closer to 5.7 calories per gram due to this thermal effect. When people replace part of their daily carbohydrate intake with an equivalent amount of alcohol, they do so often lose weight.

When it comes to building muscle, Research shows Moderate alcohol consumption has little to no effect on your ability to build muscle or strength while consuming a lot of alcohol reduced Testosterone levels and probably disturbs with muscle growth and recovery.

Of course, the real problems begin with alcohol if you frequently consume large amounts for long periods.

Chronically heavy drinking can cause a long list of problems, including …

Back to the topic of this article: what about the effects of moderate alcohol consumption?

If we control ourselves and can only drink adequate amounts of alcohol, are we still endangering our health?

Read on to find out.

Summary: In the short term, moderate alcohol consumption has few negative and possibly several positive health effects, while heavy drinking is associated with a long list of illnesses and mental illnesses.

How does alcohol affect immune function?

There is an old cock-and-bull story that looks like this:

Because alcohol can kill viruses and bacteria outside If the body drinks alcohol, viruses and bacteria can be killed Within the body.

What if Rona is still doing the rounds and many people are looking for ways to alleviate their boredom and fear, the idea of ​​drinking alcohol for… um… health reasons seems appealing.

The idea that drinking alcohol could reduce the likelihood of developing coronavirus was recently revived when Alexander Lukashenko, President of Belarus, said: “People should wash not only their hands with vodka, but the virus with it too Poison … You should drink the equivalent of drinking 40 to 50 milliliters of rectified alcohol daily. But not at work, ”said the Times of London Reports.

The World Health Organization (WHO) replied with issue a counter argument, but went to the other extreme and claimed that any A lot of alcohol could suppress immune function.

Who is right?

On the one hand, there are scientists known For decades, heavy drinking has been associated with poor immune function and a higher risk of infectious diseases such as pneumonia, tuberculosis and acute respiratory distress syndrome.

For example a study Scientists at Aarhus University Hospital found that people who drank heavily several times a week (> 7 drinks a week) were at higher risk of being hospitalized with pneumonia than people who drank 0 to 6 times a week.

More or less all scientists agree that alcohol excess and alcoholism can affect immune function. On the other hand, it is not so clear what effects moderate drinking has on your immune system.

a review study Research by researchers from the Spanish National Research Council showed that moderate drinking (10 to 14 grams of alcohol a day or less in women and 20 to 24 or less in men) was associated with slightly better immune function than abstinence. That is, others controlled tries have found that moderate drinking is unlikely to support or impair immune function.

Take that away?

If you are already drinking moderately, it is unlikely that a complete absence of alcohol will reduce the risk of illness. However, if you tend to flirt with the line between “moderate” and “excessive” drinking, now is a good time to reduce security.

Summary: Moderate drinking is unlikely to decrease immune function or increase the risk of disease, but heavy drinking is.

What is moderate drinking?

Before we check whether moderate drinking is bad for you or not, it is important that we define "moderate drinking".

While there is no official definition of moderate drinking, it is usually interpreted as "more than zero and less than the recommended maximum amount".

Most countries publish recommended upper limits for alcohol consumption. However, these can be difficult to interpret if you are familiar with the alcohol content and normal portion sizes of different drinks. In addition, different countries often recommend different safe upper limits for alcohol consumption.

For example, US dietary guidelines recommend Men don't have more than two drinks a day and women no more than one drink a day, but that's not very helpful.

How big is a drink?

A drink from which drink?

What if a drink contains more or less alcohol than usual?

Different drinks are usually available in different portion sizes and contain different amounts of alcohol. For example, beer has less alcohol than most cocktails, but beer is also available in larger portions.

To make matters worse, different variations of the same alcoholic beverage can also contain different amounts of alcohol. For example, white wine can contain only 5% alcohol (ABV) or up to 14% by volume, while red wines can contain between 12 and 18% ABV.

Here is a table that shows how you would need to change your portion size for different types of wine to consume about 14 grams of alcohol (one serving):

What a portion of wine looks like

Reusing US guidelines, a "beverage" is defined as a beverage that contains 14 grams of alcohol. It is recommended that men consume no more than two drinks a day and women no more than one. Therefore, “moderate drinking” in the US is 28 grams of alcohol a day or less for men and 14 grams or less for women.

If you live in the UK the math looks a little different. On the other side of the pond, it is recommended that men drink no more than three drinks a day and women no more than two. A serving of alcohol costs 10 grams. Therefore, “moderate drinking” in the UK is 30 grams or less of alcohol per day for men and 20 grams or less for women.

In many other European countries like Spain, France and Poland, the number of drinks you should drink is not limited. Instead, the number of grams of alcohol you should consume per day is strictly limited.

For example, Spain recommends that men drink no more than 40 grams of alcohol a day and women that they do not drink more than 25 grams of alcohol. Poland has similar guidelines, although men recommend not drinking more than 280 grams of alcohol per week instead of a daily limit, women not more than 140.

As you can see, “moderate drinking” means different things depending on where you live. This makes it a fairly unhelpful guideline when deciding how much (or little) you should drink to stay healthy.

Rather than relying on a vague and inconsistent definition of “moderate drinking,” it is important that you calculate how many grams of alcohol you are consuming and then check what research has found to be a safe amount that you should have regularly (what Do you). I will learn in a moment.

To calculate how many grams of alcohol are in a drink, all you have to do is multiply the volume of the drink (in fluid ounces or milliliters) by the volume of alcohol (ABV).

Here is a helpful table with portion sizes and average ABV numbers for various alcoholic beverages:


Once you have these two numbers, you can multiply them together to see how many grams of pure alcohol you are consuming.

For example, red wine generally contains about 12% ABV and a glass of wine is usually about 5 ounces of liquid.

The math would look like this:

12% x 5 = 0.6

A liquid ounce of alcohol is equivalent to about 30 grams. . .

0.6 x 30 = 18 g alcohol

If you use the metric system, the calculation looks the same, except you don't need to convert fluid ounces to grams.

A glass of wine is usually about 150 ml.

12% x 150 = 18 g alcohol

When it comes to beer, a standard serving is 350 ml (12 ounces) and most beers contain about 5% ABV.

Here's what the calculation would look like with fluid ounces:

12 x 0.05 = 0.6

0.6 x 30 = 18 g alcohol

Now that you know how to quantify how much alcohol you are actually drinking, it is time to examine how much alcohol can be safely drunk.

Summary: There is no uniform definition for "moderate drinking", although in most countries 30 to 40 grams or less of alcohol per day are used for men (1 to 2 servings) and about half for women (1 serving).

Is moderate drinking bad for you?

Here's the sixty-four thousand dollar question:

Assuming you follow the normal guidelines for moderate alcohol consumption – about 30 to 40 grams of alcohol or less per day for men and about half of them for women – do you have anything to fear?

Well, the research goes both ways.

On the one hand, many studies have shown that moderate alcohol consumption has little health benefit or is benign in the worst case.

For example a study The study, conducted by scientists from the Clinical Medicine Department at Nuffield, examined the drinking habits and longevity of 12,000 older men between 1978 and 1991.

They found that the risk of death was lowest among moderate drinkers – who averaged one or two drinks a day – and higher among non-drinkers and people who drank more than two drinks a day.

The researchers concluded that drinking "… An average of one or two units of alcohol per day is associated with a significantly lower overall mortality rate than the consumption without alcohol or the consumption of significant amounts." In this case, one unit would have been about 15 to 20 grams of alcohol, which means that these people followed normal guidelines for moderate drinking.

Further studies by scientists The American Cancer Society, Copenhagen University, and The University of Münster they all found more or less the same thing: people who drink one or two drinks a day generally live longer than people who don't drink at all or significantly more.

However, all of these studies suffer from major problems.

Above all, these were observational studies, which means that this is not possible to prove Drinking was responsible for the positive health effects.

In contrast to randomized controlled trials, in which researchers can isolate the effects of a single behavior (such as alcohol consumption), observational studies have "confusing variables" – factors that can influence the results in favor of one conclusion or another.

Some of these confusing variables can make moderate drinking look better than it really is, and in other cases, it can make it look worse than it really is.

For example, in many of these studies, the people who drank moderately were also richer and more educated than the people who drank the most. Because wealthier, better educated people too tend to be healthierIt is possible that moderate drinkers lived longer despite drinking alcohol, not because of it.

Another strange confusing variable is known as the problem of the "sick quince".

Many people who do not drink alcohol do so because they are dealing with a health problem or are former alcoholics, while healthy people are free to drink moderately. So when you compare a group of tea totals to a group of moderate drinkers, the moderate drinkers on the whole often look healthier.

In other words, saying that people who drink are healthier than people who don't is like saying that blind people are less at risk of dying in a car accident. It's not that you are blind to be a better driver, but that you are blind prevents you from driving, which reduces the risk of dying in a car accident.

Another complication is the fact that other confusing variables can make moderate drinking look worse than it actually is.

For example, most observational studies measure alcohol consumption in the form of average drinks over a number of months or years. So someone could drink 10 drinks several times a month and can still be counted as a "moderate drinker" because their daily average still gives 1 to 2 drinks a day.

Rare alcohol excesses like this is far more likely To cause health problems as moderate daily alcohol consumption, moderate alcohol consumption results if enough of these people are included in a study look worse than it really is.

There is also the problem of misreporting. Many people are ashamed to admit that they drink too much, and therefore many heavy drinkers could claim to be moderate drinkers, which further confuses the results.

Taking all of these variables into account is almost impossible, but when scientists have tried, the positive effects of moderate drinking often dry up.

For example one study Research conducted by Massey University scientists examined the drinking habits, health, and socio-economic status of 3,000 older men (mean age 65 years). They divided the subjects into people who did not drink, moderate drinkers and heavy drinkers, and found, as usual, that moderate drinkers were the healthiest.

However, if they identified two of the biggest confusing variables – income and education – the health benefits of moderate alcohol consumption largely disappeared. That said, most moderate drinkers were also richer and better educated, which probably had more to do with their superior health than their drinking habits.

Overall, it is probably fair to say that the health benefits of moderate alcohol consumption are exaggerated.

Is it fair to say that moderate alcohol consumption is bad for you?

To answer this question, Cambridge University scientists conducted one of the largest Studies on the health effects of alcohol to date.

In 83 studies in 19 countries, they examined how alcohol consumption affects the longevity and cardiovascular health of 600,000 drinkers. By looking only at the drinkers, they avoided the problem of including "sick quitter" in their results.

In this case, they found that moderate drinking – less than 100 grams of alcohol a week (14 grams a day) or about seven glasses of wine or beer – more or less had no effect on longevity. If people drank more, their risk of death increased.

Using a mathematical model, the researchers estimated that people who drank 7 to 14 drinks a week at age 40 had a life expectancy six months lower than moderate drinkers. At the extreme end, people who drank 14 to 24 drinks a week had a life expectancy 1 to 2 years lower, and people who drank more than 24 drinks a week had a life expectancy 4 to 5 years lower at the age of 40 .

Here's what the results looked like:

Alcohol charts

As you can see, the risk of dying and heart disease increased when people drank significantly more than 100 grams of alcohol a week.

This is the study that CNN touted as evidence: "Just one drink a day could shorten your life."

In reality, this study has not shown this. Instead, it has been shown that doubling this amount can result in a shorter lifespan if you are already drinking one drink a day.

Shortly after this study came out, it was overshadowed by an even larger one study that painted alcohol in an even worse light.

In this case, a team of scientists from around the world conducted 700 studies to investigate how alcohol consumption is related to health in millions of people from 195 countries.

As was to be expected, they found that heavy drinking was associated with a variety of diseases and early death. The kicker, however, was that the study also seemed to show that even small amounts of alcohol consumption were associated with poor health and a shorter lifespan.

As the authors bluntly stated, "the safest level of drinking is not one."

This study garnered widespread attention on the Interwebs, sparked dozens of articles, and caused waves in the scientific community as it appeared to demonstrate that even moderate drinking was dangerous.

There is only one problem: this study has not shown that zero drinking is better than moderate drinking.

Here is a graph from the paper showing the relationship between the risk of alcohol-related health problems and the number of drinks consumed per day:

Beverage-n-relative risk

As you can see, the difference between zero drinks and one drink a day is almost non-existent, and the risk only increases significantly when you drink approximately two drinks a day.

Here's another example to put this type of risk in perspective. The study found that one drink a day increased the risk of alcohol-related health problems by 0.5% compared to non-drinkers. As Professor of Pediatrics Aaron Carrol mention, thatThis means that if 100,000 non-drinkers had a drink a day, four of them would face an alcohol-related health problem.

Now you could argue that this is still strong enough to avoid alcohol overall, but even here you can't really take these results at face value.

This study, like all others you've heard of, has been an observational study, which means that cause and effect cannot be determined. It can help you make associations between various variables such as alcohol consumption and health problems. However, the results must be significant, repeatable, and taken with a grain of salt.

For example, almost all cigarette smoking studies are observational, but the results are so overwhelmingly consistent and catastrophic (for smokers) that it is an undeniable fact that smoking is bad for you. We also have many Studies Showing tobacco smoke is bad for other mammals, so it can be assumed that it has similar effects on humans.

This is not the case with moderate drinking.

Instead, we have some observational studies that show an almost imperceptible increase in the risk of not drinking to moderate drinking, which could easily be due to confusing variables.

While the authors of this last study tried to consider different things like income and education, there are simply too many variables for researchers to control for everyone.

For example, this study did not take into account the BMI, physical activity, or smoking status of people who appear to have a massive impact on longevity and health and who could easily be responsible for the small 0.5% increase in risk associated with drinking is.

Although this study showed a clear link between heavy alcohol consumption and poor health, it has not proven that moderate drinking is bad for you or that "the safest drinking level is not," as the authors claimed.

Where is that

On the one hand, the health benefits of alcohol have likely been oversold, and nowadays most doctors and researchers recommend that there is no reason to start for health reasons if you are not currently drinking.

On the other hand, most studies also show that moderate drinking – an average of one or two drinks a day – is likely to be harmless and is unlikely to help or harm your health.

Summary: Most studies show that drinking one or two servings of alcohol a day is little or no risk to your health, although it is also unlikely to be beneficial.

How much you can safely drink

Reasons why alcohol is bad

As mentioned earlier, the definition of “moderate drinking” is misleading in terms of the number of drinks per day.

Serving sizes vary from drink to drink, the definition of a “drink” varies from country to country, and different drinks can contain very different amounts of alcohol.

The only objective way to measure your alcohol consumption is to check how many grams of pure alcohol you are consuming. Some studies, such as thisSet a single limit of “100 grams per week” alcohol for everyone, but this is also a problem:

People with more body mass can certainly consume more alcohol than people with less body mass and vice versa. While 40 grams of alcohol might not inspire a 300-pound man, a 100-pound woman might be completely hit.

The reason for this is that the harmful effects of alcohol occur when it reaches a certain blood alcohol concentration. If you have more body mass, you will have more blood to dilute the alcohol so that you can consume more without having negative effects than people with less body mass.

So it seems like a good idea to set a daily alcohol limit based on your body weight, but this is another problem:

Different people metabolize alcohol with very different rates depending on genetics. For example, a 300-pound man who metabolizes alcohol very slowly might still be drunk after just a few glasses, while a 100-pound woman who metabolizes alcohol quickly may not have a big buzz until the same amount is consumed.

Where is that

Based on all the research results discussed in this article and the national guidelines of most countries (which are also based on their own research results), here is a good rule of thumb for moderate drinking:

Do not drink more than 20 to 30 grams of alcohol a day if you are a man, or more than 10 to 20 grams of alcohol a day if you are a woman.

These guidelines vary from country to country, but most are close to these areas.

Do not drink more than 140 to 210 grams of alcohol a week if you are a man, or more than 70 to 140 grams a week if you are a woman.

Tracking your weekly alcohol consumption gives you a little more flexibility in your daily alcohol consumption. Wenn Sie beispielsweise eines Tages 40 Gramm Alkohol konsumieren, können Sie den Rest der Woche verkürzen, um sicherzustellen, dass Ihr durchschnittlicher Alkoholkonsum immer noch innerhalb sicherer Grenzen liegt.

Es gibt jedoch eine Grenze dafür, wie viel Sie Ihren Alkoholkonsum so sicher „budgetieren“ können.

Wenn Sie ein Mann sind, ist es immer noch ungesund, am Samstag 210 Gramm Alkohol zu konsumieren und sich den Rest der Woche zu enthalten, obwohl Sie die ganze Woche über technisch gesehen eine „sichere“ Menge Alkohol konsumieren.

Betrinke dich nicht mehr als ein paar Mal pro Jahr.

Hochzeiten, Sportspiele, Jubiläen, Feiertagsfeiern usw. sind verlockende Anlässe, um Ihre Speiseröhre zu ölen, und viele Menschen werden dies unabhängig von den langfristigen Gesundheitsrisiken tun.

Wenn Sie in diese Gruppe fallen, versuchen Sie einfach, diese Verschmutzungen auf höchstens einige Male pro Jahr zu beschränken. Die meisten negativen gesundheitlichen Auswirkungen von Alkohol hängen mit wiederholten Alkoholexzessen oder einem konstant hohen täglichen Alkoholkonsum zusammen, so dass Ihr Körper kaum oder gar keine Zeit hat, den Schaden zu reparieren.

Es gibt wirklich keine "sichere" Häufigkeit von Alkoholexzessen, aber solange Sie zwischen den Biegern mindestens einige Monate einplanen können, können Sie die Auswirkungen minimieren.

Versuchen Sie, unter all diesen Richtlinien zu bleiben.

Alle Richtlinien, die Sie gerade gelernt haben, sollten als absolut betrachtet werden Maxima, keine Ziele.

Während Untersuchungen zeigen, dass mäßiges Trinken wahrscheinlich sicher ist, gibt es einen allgemeinen Trend, der darauf hindeutet, dass Sie gut daran tun sollten, weniger als mehr Alkohol zu trinken.

Es gibt auch kaum Hinweise darauf, dass Alkohol viele bedeutende gesundheitliche Vorteile hat. Wenn Sie also nicht gerne trinken, beginnen Sie aus gesundheitlichen Gründen nicht.

Anstatt so viel Alkohol wie möglich zu trinken und dabei die Richtlinien in diesem Artikel einzuhalten, sollten Sie als trinken wenig wie möglich während Sie noch Alkohol genießen.

Persönlich trinke ich vielleicht 4 oder 5 Portionen Alkohol pro Jahr, hauptsächlich wenn ich neue Orte besuche und verschiedene Arten von Wein oder Bier probiere, und das reicht mir. Selbst wenn ich ein Weinliebhaber würde, würde ich mich wahrscheinlich auf 3 oder 4 Gläser pro Woche beschränken, um auf Nummer sicher zu gehen.

Sie müssen natürlich nicht ganz so asketisch (oder langweilig) sein, aber ich ermutige Sie zu sehen, wie wenig Sie trinken können, ohne sich unnötig unwohl zu fühlen (solange Sie die anderen Richtlinien in diesem Artikel befolgen). Für einige Leute ist das vielleicht ein Glas Wein pro Nacht, für andere vielleicht drei oder vier Biere am Wochenende, und für andere ist es vielleicht überhaupt kein Alkohol.

Wenn Sie nicht mäßig trinken können, tun Sie es nicht.

Das größte Problem beim „moderaten Trinken“ ist, dass viele Menschen nicht mäßig trinken.

Dies gilt insbesondere für Menschen, die trinken, um sich zu betrinken. In diesem Fall wird aus einem Getränk oft zwei, aus drei drei, aus denen, wen es interessiert, dass ich diese Flasche fertig mache. Die CDC Reports Jeder sechste Erwachsene in den USA trinkt mindestens einmal pro Woche, und es ist möglich, dass diese Zahl sogar noch höher ist.

Andere machen den Fehler, sich jeden Tag ein wenig zu verwöhnen – sie trinken gerade genug, um beschwipst oder summend zu werden, aber nicht genug, um träge oder unbeholfen zu wirken.

Unabhängig vom Grund ist es wahrscheinlich besser, überhaupt nicht zu trinken, wenn Sie sich nicht an die Richtlinien für mäßiges Trinken halten können. Die Risiken sind vielfältig und die Chancen gering und flüchtig.

Fazit: Wie viel Alkohol ist sicher zu trinken?

Nachteile von Alkohol

Alkohol ist sowohl eine Droge als auch eine Kalorienquelle und betrifft viele verschiedene Körperteile.

Hier sind die wichtigsten Dinge, die Sie über Alkohol und Körperzusammensetzung wissen sollten:

  1. Drinking alcohol while in a calorie surplus and consuming lots of dietary fat can increase fat storage.
  2. Drinking alcohol while in a calorie deficit has no impact on body fat levels and may even offer some fat loss benefits.
  3. Drinking moderate amounts of alcohol doesn’t decrease with muscle growth, but drinking lots of alcohol decreases testosterone levels, slows recovery, and likely interferes with muscle growth.

A good working definition of “moderate drinking” is 30 to 40 grams per day or less for men and about half that for women. This works out to around one to two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women.

Although it’s often said that moderate drinking is good for you, in reality it’s probably benign. That is, it doesn’t offer any health benefits or pose any health risks to otherwise healthy people.

Research has consistently shown that heavy drinking is linked with many illnesses including cancer, heart attack, and liver disease as well as a significantly shorter lifespan.

When it comes to moderate drinking, here are some simple, evidence-based guidelines:

  • Don’t drink more than 1 gram of alcohol per pound of body weight per week.
  • Don’t drink more than 0.25 grams of alcohol per pound of body weight on any single day.
  • Don’t get drunk more than a few times per year.
  • Aim to stay below all of these guidelines (treat them as absolute maximums, not targets).
  • If you can’t drink moderately, don’t.

Do that, and you should have no trouble enjoying alcohol without suffering any negative health consequences.

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