Health Effects of Moderate Alcohol Consumption

We all know that anything done in excess never leads us to any good. This fact is primarily true about alcohol drinking.

We are well informed about how many people lose their lives to car accidents due to drunk-driving, disease that are consequences of heavy drinking, and the “drunk-behavior” that drinkers exude after drinking. Nowadays, some people are campaigning for total alcohol abstinence. This will make it hard for people to be convinced that there can be health benefits from drinking alcohol in moderation.

Many researches have proven that drinking in moderation may improve health. In some studies, researchers have found out that moderate drinking is much better than no drinking at all.

Drinking is embedded virtually in every culture in the world. It is a common lifestyle. Alcoholic beverages are available almost in everywhere. Drinking is considered a social activity. It is considered as one of the most popular form of pastime. It is a common part in social gatherings. It is also considered a form of relaxation by many. Drinking is synonymous with having a good time with friends. Maybe that is why we say “cheers!” during drinks.

These facts make the elimination of drinking alcoholic beverages practically impossible—aside from the fact that alcohol is notoriously known to have addictive properties. And since we can’t stop people form drinking, we might as well not be wasting our time focused on alcohol’s negative effects. It would be much helpful to everyone if we just encourage drinking in moderation.

Logically, encouragement of moderate consumption of alcohol will in turn discourage heavy-drinking (Hanson).

Setting aside its known harmful effects, there is a very sensible reason why we see the governments warning bout drinking alcohol in moderation. According to many researches done concerning moderate drinking, there are many surprising findings that drinking alcohol beverages have health benefits if taken in moderation.

What is exactly moderate?

A very special question to ask about this topic is: what exactly is moderate drinking? As like in most legal drugs, there should be a prescribed dosage in alcohol or else excess in intake may cause intoxication, illness, and even death (Hanson et al). It is agreed by many that the prescribed dosage should be limited to one up to two drinks per day for males and one for non-pregnant females.

The US Dietary Guideline Committee gave their definition of moderate consumption as limited to two drinks for males and a drink for females. A one drink is equal to twelve ounces of beer, four ounces of wine or an ounce for 100-proof liquor.  (Watson, R. and Myers A. 9)

According to medical researches, alcohol consumption less than ½ units of drink daily has insignificant benefits to health compared to the prescribed dosage. For people with a big size, four to five drinks are considered moderate since their bodies are large enough to process the amount. On the other hand, for people with a relatively smaller size, four to five drinks are considered excessive.

This is the same reason why the amount prescribe is also smaller for women. In comparison to men, they are typically smaller in size and very different in terms of biological processes (Watson R. and Myers 28-30).

The common drinking patterns or the frequency of drinking are far from the prescribed dosage. Heavy drinkers won’t find satisfaction in drinking if done in moderation. Perhaps an extreme example of a drinking pattern can be categorized as Alcoholism. Dependents or people who think they are dependent to Alcohol will find it hard to follow the prescribed dosage. (Ashley 813)

The Harvard School of Public Health had issued a diet guide that includes moderate alcohol intake. They named it “Harvard’s Healthy Eating Pyramid.” It prescribed moderate drinking along with a healthy balanced diet. (Willett et al 93)

Moderate drinking vs abstaining.

Many people will be confused if someone will say moderate drinking is much better than not drinking at all. Many see drinking as almost equally politically incorrect as drug abuse. Medical people involved in the study are convinced of moderate drinking’s health benefits, but they are afraid of what will be the general public’s reaction.

In a study done by the American Cancer Society, cancer occurrences were higher among abstainers compared to moderate drinkers. Also, abstainers are more likely to be less socially and physically active than moderate drinkers (Ashley et al 812).

Even with all the findings from researches about the health benefits of moderate drinking. Only a few medical practitioners recommend to their patients the inclusion of moderate drinking in their daily diet. This is because they are still more concerned about alcohol’s bad effects to health. (Facts of Life)