The connection between moderate drinking and lower risk of cardiovascular disease has been observed in men and women. It applies to people who do not have heart disease, and also to those at high risk for having a heart attack or stroke or dying of cardiovascular disease, including those with type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and existing cardiovascular disease. In a combined analysis of six large prospective studies involving more than 320,000 women, researchers found that having 2-5 drinks a day compared with no drinks increased the chances of developing breast cancer as high as 41%. It did not matter whether the form of alcohol was wine, beer, or hard liquor.

  • Today, there are programs like Moderation Management, which do allow for a certain level of controlled drinking and have helped many learn to drink safely.
  • Folate is needed to produce new cells and to prevent changes in DNA.
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  • People who abstain completely from alcohol are a minority, and those who aren’t teetotalers for religious reasons are more likely to have chronic health problems, to have a disability or to be from lower income backgrounds.

For other purposes, such as establishing threshold levels or risk levels for alcohol-related health consequences, however, such an approach may not be sufficient. To establish the precise nature of the relationship between alcohol-consumption levels and the risk for developing a certain disease, it is crucial that researchers know the actual alcohol moderate drinking amounts consumed . Nevertheless, research to date investigating the association between alcohol consumption levels and various diseases has relied primarily on self-reports of alcohol consumption. Firstly, we could run a randomised controlled trial, giving people a bit of booze every day for a long time, and see if they get healthier.


Understanding state-by-state regulations around BAC is essential, both for legal reasons and to know when you’ve had too much to drink. Use these tips totalk with someone about cutting back or quitting drinking. If you don’t have insurance, you may still be able to get free or low-cost help for alcohol misuse. Find a health center near you and ask about alcohol misuse screening and counseling.

Good results seem to come from moderate amounts over 3 to 4 days per week. Wine seems to be particularly beneficial, but more studies need to be done on beer and spirits. In the English language, “moderate” can be used as both a qualitative and a quantitative term, but it generally carries strong qualitative connotations.

Pros and cons of moderate alcohol use

According to the Office of Alcohol and Drug Education at the University of Notre Dame, IN, a woman’s body absorbs 30 percent more alcohol than a man’s after drinking the same amount. You can get similar benefits with exercise (beginning to exercise if you don’t already or boosting the intensity and duration of your activity) or healthier eating. Some experts have suggested that red wine makes the difference, but other research suggests that beverage choice appears to have little effect on cardiovascular benefit.

This drinking pattern is responsible for the majority of alcohol-attributable breast cancers in women, with the highest burden observed in countries of the European Union . In the EU, cancer is the leading cause of death – with a steadily increasing incidence rate – and the majority of all alcohol-attributable deaths are due to different types of cancers. However, alcoholic beverages differ substantially in their alcohol content. Accordingly, a drink should be defined in terms of alcohol content, so that a drink of beer contains approximately the same amount of alcohol as a drink of wine or spirits.

Drink Alcohol Only in Moderation

These examples illustrate the difficulties encountered in determining and comparing actual alcohol consumption and the contents of various types of beverages for establishing a standard definition of a drink. A study in Israel looked at what happened when people start drinking one standard drink per day, over two years. 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.

what does moderate drinking mean

Another study found that one component in red wine may protect the brain from stroke damage. One standard drink in the U.S. contains around 14 grams of pure alcohol. Women usually have lower levels of alcohol dehydrogenase than men. Consequently, alcohol remains in a woman’s system longer and builds up faster. The threshold for safe alcohol consumption is closely linked to body weight.

Moderate Alcohol Consumption

Most of those studies were observational, meaning they could identify links or associations but they could be misleading and did not prove cause and effect. The new report, which analyzed more than 100 studies of almost five million adults, was not designed to develop drinking recommendations, but to correct for methodological problems that plagued many of the older observational studies. Those reports consistently found that moderate drinkers were less likely to die of all causes, including those not related to alcohol consumption.