This week, the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association came out with the news that the risks of drinking might outweigh its potential health boons. In other words, all that good news we’ve been hearing about how moderate drinking helps your heart, protects against Alzheimer’s and may even strengthen bones is only half the story.
I’m not surprised by their statement, given some research that’s come across my desk recently, including that even moderate sipping might increase risk for breast cancer. Since there’s so much conflicting scientific information on alcohol and health in the news, we decided to go straight to the experts for help in weighing the pros and cons of drinking. What we found—and what it means for you—may surprise you.
Our feature “Is the Party Over?” in the current issue of EatingWell has people (including me) wondering: do I drink too much? Last night, my friend joined me for dinner. While I stirred our stew, she picked up the EatingWell Magazine on my kitchen counter and started reading. At first, she was intrigued by how alcohol positively and negatively affects your body—from your heart to your liver, and by how, exactly, alcohol affects your brain, drink by drink. Then she quickly homed in on the descriptions of “problem” drinking.
“Wow. More than three drinks on any one day is considered ‘high risk.’ I’m known to do that on a Saturday—and now that it’s football season, on Sundays too,” she told me. “I think I need to rein it in.”
“Well… and moderate drinking is technically no more than one drink a day for women,” I said, feeling a little like a party-pooper. “Maybe I need to cut back too.” (Do you drink too much? Take this quiz to find out.)
We paused for a moment before agreeing that justifying a second glass of wine with “it’s good for my heart” wasn’t going to hold up anymore. So we opened a bottle of seltzer instead.
How much/how often do you drink (alcohol)? Tell us what you think below.