Always consult your doctor about your medical conditions. Remedy Health Media & PsyCom do not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Use of this website is conditional upon your acceptance of our User Agreement. The short answer is maybe, but before you pop the champagne, keep in mind excessive drinking can still raise your risk for a whole host of other health issues. The researchers based their study on data from three waves of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey’s Epidemiologic Follow-up Study (1982–84, 1987 and 1992). The sample, which included 4,276 people, split evenly between male and female, was about 92 percent white, with a mean age of 60.4 years.

Pour a small glass, sip it slowly and remember that you have permission to enjoy another tomorrow if you decide that sounds appealing. With that intuitive mindset, it will feel less tempting to have “drinking days” and “dry days” at opposite ends of the spectrum. Even a single episode of binge drinking can lead to pancreatic inflammation in people who already have pancreatic damage. Over time, it can contribute to liver and other chronic diseases, as well as increasing the risk for certain types of cancer. At the start of the survey, 32 percent of men and 51 percent of women abstained from drinking, 51 percent of men and 45 percent of women were light to moderate drinkers, and 17 percent of men and 4 percent women were heavy drinkers.

As someone who drinks moderately, it would be absolutely wonderful if I could quaff a beer each night without any negatives. Unfortunately, it’s just not likely that booze is ever healthy. Alcohol is almost certainly bad for you, no matter how much you drink. The problem is that moderate drinking isn’t an isolated behaviour. You can’t easily separate moderate drinking from the people who drink moderately, which means that you can’t easily identify whether it’s actually the alcohol that’s improving people’s health or something more complex. It can be difficult adopting habits to moderate your drinking.

How Does Alcohol Affect The Body?

The emphasis here, as elsewhere, is on moderate drinking. However, a prospective study following almost 15,000 men at four-year periods found only an increased risk of minor weight gain with higher intakes of alcohol. Compared to those who did not change their alcohol intake, those who increased their intake by 2 or more drinks a day gained a little more than a half-pound. It was noted that calorie intake tended to increase along with alcohol intake. Even moderate drinking may raise your risk for some types of heart disease and cancer. For some types of cancer, the risk increases even at low levels of drinking . So while the average 12 oz beer sold in the U.S. is 5%, it pays to know the alcohol content of what you’re drinking.

The legal BAC limit is 0.08% in most states, but it’s wise to be aware of state-by-state regulations. Understanding state-by-state regulations around BAC is essential, both for legal reasons and to know when you’ve had too much to drink. During pregnancy, it increases the risk of pregnancy loss and of a child having growth and developmental problems in future. Alcohol consumption has been linked to cancers of the breast, colon and rectum, liver, esophagus, voice box, throat, mouth, and probably the pancreas, according to the American Cancer Society.

What Are The Benefits Of Consuming Alcohol In Moderation?

Most importantly, you must first decide whether you want to stop having alcohol-related problems. There you can take a good look at your drinking and get objective feedback. The third gives you a way to compare different kinds of alcohol and encourages you to use a standard drink and gives you a calculator for it. Our goal in this series is to present you with solid empirical data on moderate drinking without blaming, labeling, or telling you what to do. What, if anything you decide to do about your drinking is always up to you.

See our disclaimer about external links and our quality guidelines. If you tend to drink too much whenever there is any alcohol in the house, get rid of it altogether, the NIAAA recommends. The urge to drink will inevitably come—so make a plan for it. Remind yourself of why you want to cut back, talk to a friend about it and distract yourself with a hobby or exercise, the NIAAA suggests. Accept that you have the urge and that it will pass.

  • If you don’t drink alcohol, don’t start because of potential health benefits.
  • Participants were asked if they experienced no difficulty, some difficulty, much difficulty or were unable to do these activities at all when alone and without the use of aids.
  • A standard drink is defined as a 12-ounce bottle of beer, a 5-ounce glass of wine, or a cocktail that contains 5 percent alcohol.
  • We explain the benefits of not drinking at all and routinely encourage all new clients to start with a period of abstinence, even if their ultimate goal is moderation.
  • Therefore, findings may not generalize to all sub-populations.

Contacting a treatment providercan help you determine the next steps in your journey. Are recovering from an alcohol use disorder or are unable to control the amount they drink. Many treatment facilities and support groups aim to help individuals achieve and maintain long-term sobriety through abstinence. Alcohol addiction treatment programs can guide individuals through a safe and effective medical detox, followed by counseling that targets the reasons behind addiction. In fact, he says, alcohol tolerance—defined as the ability to drink more alcohol with fewer ill effects—is probably the “sloppiest” criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders for an AUD. Instead, alcohol dependency really has nothing to do with alcohol quantity, but rather it’s the need to drink any amount of alcohol to avoid withdrawal symptoms or carry out daily functions that signals a disorder. It’s healthier to drink a small amount daily than to binge on weekends or special occasions.

The person who drank alcohol daily but now abstains during the week may eventually stop thinking about alcohol during the week. The person who binged on the weekends but now drinks moderately may eventually get accustomed to that change and have a decreased urge to over-drink. To adhere to these principles, each type of drinker will have to make changes to his or her routine. The man cutting back to weekend use may not want to keep alcohol in the house during the week in order to decrease the decision fatigue that comes with easy access. He may want to exercise in the evenings or engage in some alternate pleasurable activity. The woman who typically binges may want to alternate alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic drinks to slow down her drinking; she may want commit to going home at a certain time on the weekend or not hanging out with certain friends.

“We found in a national sample of U.S. adults that moderate average level drinkers accounted for the majority of cases of binge drinking and the majority of cases of alcohol problems,” Holahan said. Using MRI measures, alcohol consumption consistently predicted volume of the hippocampus. Weekly alcohol consumption did not predict hippocampal atrophy in women, only men. While research shows long-term benefits to abstinence, this approach can leave out those who want to change their drinking habits but are not ready to abstain completely.

The Bottom Line: Balancing Risks And Benefits

The effects of alcohol can also vary from person to person. While moderate drinking is undoubtedly a better idea than binge drinking, no amount of alcohol is completely risk-free when it comes to your health. A study of 550 people over 30 years finds that even moderate alcohol consumption is tied to raised risk of hippocampus degeneration and mental decline. In the U.S., 1 drink is usually considered to be 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1½ ounces of spirits .

This is especially true for craft beers that have become popular of late. (Probably because they taste better but that’s our own opinion.) And remember, a pint of beer is 16 oz so that’s already a 1.25 standard drinks at 5% beer. During the times when you’re alcohol-free, does it change how you feel and where you place value in your life? Do you find you’re able to think more clearly, focus better, and maintain your energy?

They split people into three groups, gave one water, and the other two either red or white wine. At the end of the study, there weren’t any consistent health effects – positive or negative – from drinking wine. We’ve known about the association between moderate drinking and good health for quite some time. It’s fairly well-established that, if you look at society at large, people who drink a moderate amount are the healthiest in a number of ways.

The CDC also defines binge drinking, which can lead to an array of health issues. A man who has 5 or more drinks over the course of 2 hours or less has been binge drinking. For women, the threshold is 4 or more drinks in that same period.

  • Listed below are factors that can determine which method may work for you and when to consider further treatment.
  • Weekly alcohol consumption did not predict hippocampal atrophy in women, only men.
  • Whilst this may seem counterintuitive, try drinking your vodka, whisky, rum, or other spirit of choice neat.
  • Folate is needed to produce new cells and to prevent changes in DNA.
  • If you are unsure which group you fall into, try an honest, principled attempt at moderation.

In a large-scale study, links between alcohol use disorder and dementia are fleshed out. The relationship is stronger than previously thought. While consuming alcohol in moderation appears to have some benefits, it is important to remember that too much can be devastating for overall health and even life-threatening in the long run. Another study found that one component in red wine may protect the brain from stroke damage.


Heavy drinkers were those who consumed 15 or more drinks per week or five or more per drinking day . Abstainers were those who drank fewer than Can You Moderate Your Drinking 12 alcoholic beverages the previous year. Any potential benefits of alcohol are relatively small and may not apply to all individuals.

Can You Moderate Your Drinking

Consuming moderate amounts of certain types of alcohol, such as wine, has shown some benefits. However, it is important to note that many studies making these claims are inconclusive. The investigators reported in the journal BMC Medicine that people who drank from 2 to 7 glasses of wine per week were much less likely to be diagnosed with clinical depression.

Keep Track Of Your Drinking

If you are on probation any drinking can be a violation of your probation. There is no known safe level of drinking if you are pregnant. The fifth post discusses concrete steps you can take to be successful at moderating your drinking. Are not currently grappling with severe life problems such as divorce, job loss, bankruptcy, debilitating or life-threatening medical illness, death of a loved one, depression or other psychiatric illness, etc. And an opportunity to gain a more realistic perspective on the way they use alcohol and how it is getting in the way of achieving their personal goals and aspirations. Our approach is distinctly client-centered, not program-centered.

In fact, the latest dietary guidelines make it clear that no one should begin drinking alcohol or drink more often on the basis of potential health benefits. For many people, the possible benefits don’t outweigh the risks and avoiding alcohol is the best course. Heavy drinking can increase the risk of all-cause death, but moderate alcohol consumption could have ‘protective health effects,’ study suggests. If you are a man with no history of alcoholism who is at moderate to high risk for heart disease, a daily alcoholic drink could reduce that risk. Moderate drinking might be especially beneficial if you have low HDL that just won’t budge upward with diet and exercise.

Can You Moderate Your Drinking

That’s why there are guidelines in place for moderate drinking. If you’re looking to cut back on the alcohol, are sober curious, or just want to see your options out there in the world of moderate drinking, we have answers. A new review finds the existing research to be biased and suggests that moderate drinking does not stave off heart disease after all.

For others, moderation is a first step toward quitting alcohol entirely either temporarily or for the long term. Among the 1% of Americans (2.8 million) who receive treatment for an alcohol use disorder each year, there are probably very few people with early-stage alcoholism. The founders of AA suggest that attempts at moderation provide the best litmus test for alcoholism. In their view, drinkers that are able to cut back without abstaining are not alcoholics because they haven’t become powerless over alcohol. “It is also really important to get family and friends involved when one is considering reducing their engagement in binge drinking,” he explained. “This leaves many drinkers mistakenly assuming that a moderate average level of consumption is safe, regardless of drinking pattern,” he explained. Lead author Dr. Charles Holahan, who is a psychology professor at UT Austin, said his team wanted to study this issue because, when it comes to moderate drinking, the pattern of drinking is generally overlooked.

Health Risks Of Moderate Drinking

Moderate drinking isn’t something that occurs overnight, but can be rewarding as you begin to change your relationship with alcohol. Rather than turning to alcohol as a way to cope or socialize, changing your drinking behavior can open up new opportunities to promote self-care and well-being without the need to drink. This option is generally intended for “problem drinkers”; i.e., non-alcoholics with less severe drinking problems who have not suffered life-damaging consequences from their drinking and have no prior history of alcohol dependence . To pinpoint how drinking patterns—both in quantity and timing—impact health, scientists from the University of Texas at Austin analyzed Midlife in the United States survey data from 1,229 drinkers age 30 and older. Since the insights were taken in two waves, the researchers could track how drinking habits impacted the participants over the course of nine years. “Average moderate drinkers should talk with family members or a professional if they experience health or social problems from drinking,” said Holahan. Moderate drinking was defined in their study as having, on average, no more than one drink per day for women and no more than two for men.

Tell Family Members And Friends You Want To Get Healthier

Sharing that diary with a trusted friend can be even more powerful. This was compared to people who drank the same amount of alcohol overall, but didn’t binge drink. 1 U.S. standard drink being the equivalent of 12 oz of 5% beer or 1 shot of 80-proof liquor (i.e., 14 grams of pure ethanol). CheckUpandChoices is theonly evidence-based moderation focused, confidential training program for MM with multiple clinical trials. This idea does not suggest that recovery is as simple as “mind-over-matter,” but Peele believes that people can set an intention to quit in line with their values without the need for inpatient or outpatient treatments. This information is not designed to replace a physician’s independent judgment about the appropriateness or risks of a procedure for a given patient.