Alcohol use: Weighing risks and benefits

Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. In 2015, more than 10,000 people died in automobile accidents in which alcohol was involved.

  • Plus, all the extra calories from drinking alcohol can lead to obesity and a higher risk of developing diabetes.
  • If you’re diabetic or pre-diabetic, you should definitely avoid sugary mixers .
  • Whether or not to drink alcohol, especially for “medicinal purposes,” requires careful balancing of these benefits and risks.
  • For example, beer has a high amount of carbohydrates, and some types of beer are high in calories as well.

If you are thin, physically active, don’t smoke, eat a healthy diet, and have no family history of heart disease, drinking alcohol won’t add much to decreasing your risk of cardiovascular disease. The benefits and risks of moderate drinking change over a lifetime. In general, is alcohol good for you risks exceed benefits until middle age, when cardiovascular disease begins to account for an increasingly large share of the burden of disease and death. A lack of folate in the diet or folic acid, its supplement form, further increases the risk of breast cancer in women.

Helps Your Brain

Alcohol caused numerous medical problems in my life, disabled me, has damaged my mental/emotional health and I wish that I had never touched a drop! The makers, sellers, and drinkers of booze think everyone should drink but they are JUST PLAIN WRONG!! If you’re in good shape, moderate drinking makes you 25% to 40% less likely to have a heart attack, stroke, or hardened arteries. This may be in part because small amounts of alcohol can raise your HDL (“good” cholesterol) levels. Heavy drinking, on the other hand, boosts your risk of heart disease.

is alcohol good for you

There is extensive evidence indicating that people who suffer psychological distress and rely on alcohol to relieve their stress are more likely to develop alcohol abuse and dependence (Castaneda and Cushman 1989; Kessler et al. 1996, 1997). Because vulnerability to alcohol dependence varies greatly among individuals, it is difficult to assess the risk of dependence in relation to how much a person drinks. Two persons exposed to alcohol in exactly the same way may or may not have the same outcome for many reasons, including genetic differences, personality, behavioral features, and environment. Alcohol use plays a role in many social activities, from the “business lunch” and parties to special occasions. The benefits to those who drink during social occasions are greatly influenced by culture, the setting in which drinking occurs, and expectations about alcohol’s effects (Goldman et al. 1987; Heath 1987; Leigh 1989; Leigh and Stacy 1991). Stress reduction, mood elevation, increased sociability, and relaxation are the most commonly reported psychosocial benefits of drinking alcohol (Baum-Baicker 1985; Hauge and Irgens-Jensen 1990; Leigh and Stacy 1991; Mäkelä and Mustonen 1988).

Body Weight

Alcoholic beverages are classified as carcinogenic by the International Agency for Research on Cancer and increase the risk of several cancer types. Alcohol as an immunosuppressant increases the risk of communicable diseases, including tuberculosis and HIV. Understand the potential effects on your health if you do indulge. Incidence also was reduced among women, but only in those consuming low to moderate levels of alcohol. In fact, an increased risk was observed in women consuming more than 28 drinks per week. The recruits will be men and women 50 or older, all of whom either have cardiovascular disease or are at high risk for developing it.

  • Countless scientific studies have espoused the idea that a glass of red wine a day can be good for the heart, but a new, sweeping global study published in The Lancet on Friday rejects the notion that any drinking can be healthy.
  • There was no association with folate and increased breast cancer risk among women who drank low or no alcohol daily.
  • Moderate drinking might be especially beneficial if you have low HDL that just won’t budge upward with diet and exercise.
  • These recommendations are, of course, based on the assumption that a person is pretty much healthy, with no underlying issues.
  • “Specifically, regarding the central nervous system, alcohol slows down the cerebral cortex process, which can lead to poor judgment,” Dr. Fiani says.
  • The most significant association with lower CHD risk is largely confined to middle-aged and older individuals in industrialized countries with high rates of cardiovascular diseases.

Certain esophageal cancers and gastrointestinal cancers have also been related to excessive alcohol use. The research shows that while a small amount of alcohol may reduce risk for heart disease and diabetes, it starts to raise risk for other diseases, especially cancer, from the first sip. Recommendations for alcohol intake are usually based on the number of standard drinks per day. That said, consuming high amounts does not provide greater health benefits.

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