The narrative around drinking alcohol is something that is constantly changing. Is drinking alcohol always bad for you? Does drinking in moderation actually help your heart health? Is there a certain amount you should drink to have the best health possible?
We all know that excessive drinking is bad for your health. However, does drinking in moderation improve your health?
You might’ve heard that drinking a glass of wine is good for the heart—it’s one of the most common beliefs around alcohol and heart health and has been backed by some small preliminary studies in the past.
Recent developments, however, tell a different story. Studies from the World Heart Federation as of January 20th, 2022 contradict this previous information.
What Is the World Heart Federation?
The World Heart Federation is a Geneva-based organization that advocates for heart health and represents hundreds of heart associations worldwide. They recently released a new policy titled ‘The Impact of Alcohol Consumption on Cardiovascular Health’.
The crux of this policy brief is that any amount of alcohol—not just heavy drinking—can increase the risk of heart disease. Even small amounts of alcohol can have negative effects. The brief even articulates that previous studies claiming that alcohol in moderation can be good for you were based on observational research, and did not account for other important factors.
According to The World Heart Federation, the most common health problems associated with alcohol consumption are:
- Coronary Disease
- Several Types of Cancer
- Aortic Aneurysm
- High Blood Pressure
- Weight Gain
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death globally, with over 17.9 million lives being attributed to it every year. In 2019 alone, there were 2.4 million deaths due to heart disease as a result of alcohol consumption. The World Heart Federation has since called for a relative reduction of 10% in the per capita consumption of alcohol between 2013 to 202.
While the World Heart Federation takes a staunch approach against alcohol consumption, the American Heart Association (AHA) has a more flexible perspective. According to the AHA, moderation when drinking alcohol is key—their moderation metric proposes no more than one drink a day for women, and two drinks a day for men.
According to Dr. Mariell Jessup, the Chief Science and Medical Officer to the American Heart Association, “we concluded that if one doesn’t drink alcohol, do not start; and if one does drink alcohol, limit intake.”
How Does Alcohol Affect Your Weight?
In terms of weight gain, simply drinking two glasses of beer or wine a day can have a noticeable impact, especially if you are already on a diet or trying to manage or lose weight. Two 12 ounce beers can be anywhere between 280 calories to 382 calories, while two 12 ounce glasses of wine can be anywhere from 350 calories to 364 calories. If you’re trying to lose weight, then alcohol probably isn’t the best choice for you. If you want to be healthy, try replacing your alcohol intake with water.
The Bottom Line
Ultimately, it comes down to you. If you do decide to drink alcohol, make sure to do it in moderation so it doesn’t have a negative effect on your health.
A huge part of your personal wellbeing comes from your daily habits and lifestyle, so if you incorporate minimizing alcohol into your life, you’ll have a higher chance of improving your personal health.
A well-rounded strategy for health needs more than solely dieting or exercise, or even limiting alcohol consumption.
To learn more about how to reach your health and fitness goals, visit Ethical Inc. today.