Did you know that limiting your alcohol intake could improve your health?
You’ve probably heard that you should drink alcohol in moderation and avoid binge drinking. But what does that mean?
Some people should not drink any alcohol. Pregnant women should not drink at all, as alcohol can damage the fetus. Children below the age of 14 should not drink any alcohol, as their body systems are still developing. People taking certain medications should not drink any alcohol at all.
Men’s and women’s bodies process alcohol differently. Women should drink no more than 1 “standard drink” a day and no more than 7 standard drinks in a week. Men up to age 64 should drink no more than 2 “standard drinks” a day and no more than 14 standard drinks in a week.
After age 64, both men and women should drink no more than 1 “standard drink” a day and no more than 7 standard drinks in a week. This is because the effects of alcohol change as the body ages.
How much is a “standard drink”? It is:
12 oz. of regular beer, usually about 5% alcohol
8-9 oz. of malt liquor
5 oz. of table wine (12%)
1.5 oz. of 80-proof hard liquor
Binge drinking is bad for everyone. It means drinking to excess, which is:
More than 3 drinks on one occasion for women of all ages and men over age 64
More than 4 drinks on one occasion for men under age 64
Binge drinking can lead to liver damage, pancreatitis, and other health issues.
If you are drinking more than the recommended amount of alcohol, here are some strategies to help you cut down.
• Eat before and while you drink. This lets your body absorb the alcohol more slowly.
• If you drink at home, always measure your drinks to be sure you aren’t overpouring.
• Never top off your drink. You can’t keep track of how much you have had.
• Drink a nonalcoholic beverage between alcoholic drinks. This helps dilute the effect of the alcohol.
If you have concerns about your drinking habits, please consult with your health care professionals.