In this month’s Doctor’s Blog about men’s health and alcohol, while there is some supporting evidence that drinking in moderation may be beneficial to one’s heart health, some of this information gets misconstrued.
For men, “drinking in moderation” equates to a maximum of 2 alcoholic beverages per day, where a beverage equates to one 12 ounce beer or wine cooler, 8 ounces of malt liquor, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80 proof distilled spirit/liquor. In many surveys however, men tend to go over this amount. What’s more is many hear that drinking can be good for their health, but ignore situations in which alcohol is not safe or recommended – such as with certain medications or medical conditions including ulcers, liver disease, anxiety, depression, or alcohol abuse.
The Standard Measure of Alcohol
In the United States, a standard drink is any drink that contains 0.6 ounces (14.0 grams or 1.2 tablespoons) of pure alcohol. Generally, this amount of pure alcohol is found in:
- 12-ounces of beer (5% alcohol content).
- 8-ounces of malt liquor (7% alcohol content).
- 5-ounces of wine (12% alcohol content).
- 1.5-ounces of 80-proof (40% alcohol content) distilled spirits or liquor (e.g., gin, rum, vodka, whiskey).
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 62% of men reported they had consumed alcohol during the previous 30 days, and 47% said they binge-drank at some point during that month. On average, the men reported binge-drinking episodes 12.5 times per year. Binge drinking is defined for men as having 5 or more drinks during a single occasion, 4 or more drinks for women.
Does the “benefit” outweigh the risk?
We know that consuming alcohol has both short term and long-term effects. In the moment, judgment and decision-making abilities are impaired. Alcohol intake has been tied to higher rates of fatal motor vehicle accidents and other risky behaviors including physical assaults, unprotected sex, sexual assault, and suicide. Long-term effects of alcohol consumption can actually contribute to heart attack, liver failure, cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, and colon. Additionally, alcohol consumption can affect mood and memory changes.
Read more from the CDC here:
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