Mixed drinks or mixed messages? The topic of alcohol consumption in the healthcare community is laced with confusing statements, conflicting studies, and opinionated arguments. But perhaps most confusing is the difference between moderation and excess. Drink just enough and most doctors agree that alcohol can benefit overall health. But drink too much and there are ill effects.
So what exactly does it look like to “drink in moderation?”
The Potential Benefits and Risks of Alcohol Consumption
When consumed in moderation, many in the healthcare community believe that there are health benefits to be enjoyed. There are studies and theories that show responsible amounts of alcohol can reduce the risk of heart disease, ischemic strokes, and diabetes. There’s also reason to believe that alcohol can help combat the signs of aging, improve cholesterol, and momentarily quell stress and anxiety.
But for every potential benefit, there are also some risks. Alcohol consumption has historically been tied to both short- and long-term risks, including high blood pressure, motor vehicle accidents, risky sexual behavior, violence, and even some forms of cancer.
There are also certain people who should never consume alcohol, including women who are or may become pregnant, people under the legal consumption age, people with medical conditions that interact with alcohol, and recovering alcoholics.
5 Tips for Drinking in Moderation
The problem with alcohol is that most people don’t understand moderation and excess. As a result, they may drink with the intention of releiving some stress and enjoying the health benefits, when they’re actually putting themselves at risk.
If you don’t understand how to drink alcohol in moderation, you aren’t alone. But here are some tips that should help you get on the right track.
- Understand the Definition of a “Drink”
Ask 10 people for their definition of an alcoholic “drink” and you’ll probably get 10 unique answers. People know that they should only have one or two drinks in a sitting, but that doesn’t always mean they follow the rules.
By definition, one drink includes a 12 fluid ounce beer, a 5 fluid ounce glass of wine, or a 1.5 fluid ounce liquor drink. If moderation is the goal, one drink per day is the limit for women of all ages and men older than 65. Men who are 65 and younger should have no more than two drinks per day.
- Never Drink for Health
While there may be some health benefits associated with drinking in moderation, never start drinking because of the benefits. You’re much better avoiding alcohol if it doesn’t entice you.
- Measure Your Drinks
Some people have heavier pours than others. While you may know that one drink equals five ounces of wine, it’s much easier to pour eight or nine ounces without even realizing it. If you want to get serious about moderation, you should carefully measure any drink you pour. For liquor drinks, a shot glass will do the trick.
- Choose Your Friends Wisely
Because most drinkers decide to drink in social situations, the people you choose to be friends with will have a major impact on your consumption habits. If you have crazy friends who drink for the purpose of getting drunk, you’re going to end up following their lead and consuming more than you want. On the other hand, if you hang around like-minded people who are focused on moderation, you can have people hold you accountable.
- Eat and Stay Hydrated
Not only is it unwise to consume alcohol on an empty stomach, but you’re more likely to drink more if you do. By consuming plenty of water and eating a meal prior to drinking, your body will be hydrated and you’ll feel fuller. As a result, you’ll be less inclined to drink in excess.
Start Your Career With Orion College
Are you intrigued by the idea of learning more about healthcare and medicine? If so, then you may find a career in an allied health field to be exciting and rewarding.
At Orion College, we offer online programs that allow you to earn an associated degree or diploma in a surprisingly short period of time. If you’re interested in learning more about our programs and how to enroll, we’d be happy to help. Contact us today for more information!