How Much Alcohol Is Safe to Drink? ‘Not Much’ May Be the Answer

This information on drinking in moderation was adapted from materials from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Talk with a doctor or nurse if you’re having blood alcohol content bac a hard time cutting back on your drinking. If you keep a lot of alcohol around, you may be tempted to go over the drinking limit you set for yourself when you’re at home.

  1. Neither Schaffner nor Rahman could explain why light drinkers have a lower risk of all-cause mortality than nondrinkers.
  2. So whether you raise a glass to Schaffner’s takeaway from the review paper (“don’t drink too much”) or lower it in response to Rahman’s (“don’t drink”), it’s best to imbibe responsibly, if at all.
  3. In some people, the initial reaction may feel like an increase in energy.
  4. However, it is important to note that many studies making these claims are inconclusive.

Moderate Drinking is About Having More Control Over Your Drinking

The potential hypothesis is that the dysfunction of immune cells, specifically T-cells and neutrophils, may be responsible for the cumulative effects observed with excessive alcohol intake surpassing a specific threshold [33]. Subsequently, the risk for infectious complications including periodontitis can be elevated due to the excessive alcohol intake [11]. Overall, these results underscore the adverse effects of alcohol consumption itself, as well as its confounding adverse effects when combined with other factors such as smoking on periodontitis progression. This highlights the significance of limiting cumulative alcohol intake from both the individual and combined effects. Interaction analysis is a useful approach for examining multiple modifiable exposure factors that play a role simultaneously or interact with one another on disease risk [14]. It has been widely used in gene–gene and gene-environment studies but less frequently used in periodontitis.

Drink Alcohol Only in Moderation

She points out that most research studies are either performed on mice or focus on chronic alcohol users. By not drinking too much, you can reduce the risk of these short- and long-term health risks. Alcohol use disorder is a pattern of alcohol use that involves problems controlling your drinking, being preoccupied with alcohol or continuing to use alcohol even when it causes problems. This disorder also involves having to drink more to get the same effect or having withdrawal symptoms when you rapidly decrease or stop drinking. Alcohol use disorder includes a level of drinking that’s sometimes called alcoholism. Keep in mind, too, that alcoholic drinks contribute little to no other nutritional value.


Heavy drinking, including binge drinking, is a high-risk activity. That idea came from imperfect studies comparing groups of people by how much they drink. And none of the studies randomly assigned people to drink or not drink, so they couldn’t prove cause and effect. Because denial is common, you may feel like you don’t have a problem with drinking. You might not recognize how much you drink or how many problems in your life are related to alcohol use. Listen to relatives, friends or co-workers when they ask you to examine your drinking habits or to seek help.

By adhering to the Dietary Guidelines, you can reduce the risk of harm to yourself or others. Experts refer to this benefit as a lower risk of “all-cause mortality.” Or—more simply—death from anything. art therapy for addiction Lisa Valente is a registered dietitian and former senior digital nutrition editor for EatingWell. Brierley is a dietitian nutritionist, content creator and strategist, and avid mental health advocate.

First, we analyzed a large-scale population and examined the complicated interactive relationship between different influencing factors rather than focus on only one single factor. Second, data from the NHANES were selected using a complex, multi-stage probability sampling design fully representative of the general population across the United States. Third, multiple confounding factors were considered in this study, including sociodemographic characteristics and history of diabetes. First, no causality can be inferred from the data due to the cross-sectional nature of the study. As with other cross-sectional studies, the temporal relationship cannot be established considering the long-term variables (e.g., periodontitis, smoking) and the short-term variables (e.g., drinking and depression). Therefore, further study is needed to solve geographic restrictions from a large multinational population.

Setting up personal guidelines and expectations—and tracking results—can make maintaining moderation easier. You will keep track of what was accomplished and what still needs work. Drinking is often a coping strategy subconsciously used to avoid having to deal with uncomfortable or painful issues. Moderated drinking could give you the space to address those issues you’ve been pushing aside. The C Three Foundation is a good place to begin your research. There are also programs like Ria Health which can provide direct support when you’re ready for it.

Second, our study utilized CAL as the sole criterion for grading the severity of periodontitis, without considering other factors like aggressive tooth brushing and periodontal trauma. This may lead to some bias in the patients inclusion, which could be improved by designing comprehensive and detailed epidemiological surveys. If you choose to drink, having only a moderate (limited) amount can lower your risk for health problems caused by drinking. Some people shouldn’t drink at all, like people younger than 21 years, people who are pregnant or might be pregnant, and people with certain health conditions. Ultimately, though, recommendations about alcohol consumption come down to your fitness goals and intention.

For men, heavy drinking means more than four drinks on any day or more than 14 drinks a week. The bottom line is that alcohol is potentially addictive, can cause intoxication, alcohol use disorder diagnosis and treatment and contributes to health problems and preventable deaths. If you already drink at low levels and continue to drink, risks for these issues appear to be low.

For people who have not been able to maintain sobriety through Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or other 12-step programs, they may wish to consider if moderation may be a more effective path for them to take. Still, if you don’t currently drink, there’s no need to start now. You can gain similar benefits from increased exercise or healthier eating habits. In addition, some of the health benefits of red wine we often hear about have been called into question by recent research. The paper also found a significant interaction between the age of study subjects and their mortality risk. While there wasn’t much of a difference in risk between younger and older groups who drank moderately, younger people in the study had greater mortality risks than the older ones at high consumption levels.

Gallstones and type 2 diabetes are also less likely to occur in moderate drinkers than in individuals who drink no alcohol at all. A drink before a meal may improve digestion, and occasional drinks can be a social tonic that contributes to overall well-being. Of 30 things linked to diseases of your heart and blood vessels, it said, 90% are found more often among nondrinkers, including body weight.

It also includes binge drinking — a pattern of drinking where a male has five or more drinks within two hours or a female has at least four drinks within two hours. Binge drinking causes significant health and safety risks. It found that drinking moderately reduces stress, tension, self-consciousness and even depression. On the flip side, moderate drinking also can increase happiness, euphoria and carefree feelings.

In the United States, a “standard drink” (also known as an alcoholic drink equivalent) is defined as any beverage containing 0.6 fluid ounces or 14 grams of pure alcohol. Many people enjoy a drink now and then when socializing with friends and family. Knowing your personal drinking pattern can help you understand if alcohol will affect your health. In this video, Dr. Bobby Lazzara explains the potential benefits of alcohol for your heart and emphasizes the importance of moderation. Women usually have lower levels of alcohol dehydrogenase (AHD) than men.

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