No Amount of Alcohol Is Good For Health
How much alcohol is healthy? According to a study published by The Lancet, the answer is a resounding “none.”
The Global Burden of Disease Study 2016 assessed the use and impact of alcohol, using data collected over nearly 30 years from 195 countries worldwide. The findings were conclusive: alcohol does far more harm than it does good.
How Much Alcohol Is Healthy?
There’s a widely-held belief that a glass of wine—red wine in particular—protects against heart disease. While the Lancet study authors confirm there is a nugget of truth in this statement, it’s not quite that simple.
According to Johns Hopkins, there are moderate correlations between drinking small amounts of red wine and reduced heart disease risk. But as it turns out, these positive outcomes might not be tied to wine consumption at all. Johns Hopkins cardiologist John William McEvoy posits that those who sip (not guzzle) red wine might be in a higher socioeconomic group and have a healthier lifestyle in general.
There is also evidence that links moderate alcohol consumption to slightly increased HDL cholesterol and that red wine, in particular, contains a small number of antioxidants that may help protect the heart. However, you can also boost your ‘good’ cholesterol levels through exercise and medical supplements; plus, there are plenty of delicious foods rich in antioxidants that do a better job protecting your heart. Long story short, there are no benefits in red wine that can’t be obtained from other sources.
It’s worth noting that ‘moderate’ is the operative word when it comes to alcohol consumption. Moderate use is defined as one drink per day for women and one to two drinks per day for men. Of course, notes McEvoy, there are circumstances where individuals should not be consuming any alcohol at all. For patients experiencing arrhythmia or heart failure, zero alcohol should be the goal.
Risk vs. Reward
And while this data about heart disease prevention seems optimistic, experts say the risks far outweigh any potential benefits. Alcohol consumption contributes significantly to liver damage, brain damage, lowered immune system, and a wide variety of cancers.
Even the aforementioned possible health benefits only apply to ‘moderate’ consumption. In fact, excess consumption is a massive contributor to heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. Indeed, drinking was the leading cause of cancer for individuals over the age of 50.
And what about heavy drinking and binge drinking? According to the experts, there is no safe or healthy way to consume alcohol in large doses over extended periods. As for the other potential dangers, drinking is a significant source of driving accidents and fatalities, as well as risky behaviors that may result in self-harm or harm to others.
Overall, the findings are clear: alcohol offers no benefit that cannot be found elsewhere. If you must drink, do it in moderation. If you don’t have to drink, perhaps it’s best not to start. And if you’re struggling with a drinking problem, Landmark Recovery is here to help you on the path to wellness. Reach out today to find out how to get started.