Alcohol consumption in moderation has been proven through research to have many health benefits, but the health risks are much more well-known. The point at which alcohol becomes more of a health risk than a benefit is when a person should consider eliminating consumption.
Health Risks of Alcohol
Certain populations are more susceptible to the dangers of alcohol consumption—those who are:
- Under the age of 21
- Taking certain medications
- Suffering certain medical conditions
- Unable to control their consumption
The CDC notes there are short-term risks as well as long-term risks of excessive consumption, but what is considered excessive? It depends on which group you fall into and the manner of consumption.
The CDC considers any alcohol excessive if you are pregnant (it poses health risks to the unborn child), and it’s illegal for anyone younger than 21 years of age. For everyone else, excessive includes both binge drinking, which is most common, and heavy drinking. The difference between these, according to the CDC, lies in the amount of alcohol consumed within a certain timeframe, and it’s different for men and women.
For men, “binge drinking” is defined as more than four alcoholic drinks in a day, while “heavy drinking” is more than 14 in a week. For women, it’s more than three in a day, and more than seven in a week.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reports that even one binge drinking session can make you more susceptible to infection for up to 24 hours. Binge drinking can also lead to alcohol poisoning.
Once you cross the threshold of excessive drinking, you increase your chances of developing certain health problems, including, but not limited to:
- Depression or anxiety
- Heart and liver disease
- High blood pressure
Alcohol can also interfere with certain medications, causing adverse reactions, and can worsen the symptoms of some medical conditions. Over a long period of time, excessive consumption has even been linked to the development of some forms of cancer.
But there are also many pleasant reasons to stop, too.
Studies show people who quit drinking tend to sleep better and don’t wake up with fatigue. After a night without, you’re more likely to wake feeling more rested, you’ll notice your brain is less foggy, and you can perform better at physical and mental tasks.
Drinking packs on extra, empty calories. It has NO proven nutritional value. Take this into consideration.
- One 12 oz. beer – 153 calories avg.
- One 12 oz. light beer – 103 calories avg.
- One 5 oz. glass of red wine – 125 avg.
- One (serving) 1.5 oz. spirits (gin, rum, vodka, whiskey, tequila) – 97 calories avg.
- Martini – 2.25 oz. – 125 calories avg.
- Margarita – 4 oz. 146 calories avg.
- Pina Colata – 9 oz. 490 calories avg.
Cutting out or cutting back on alcohol, especially if you regularly consume, will eliminate these empty, extra calories from your diet. It will also speed up your metabolism.
In addition, alcohol in moderation or quitting all together will make you look better. Alcohol is a diuretic, causing you to urinate more often, cutting back or quitting all together leads to better hydration and an improved complexion.
If you have three drinks a day, five days a week, at an average of $10 a pop, you’re spending about $150 a week, $650 a month or $7,800 a year just on alcohol. I know you are saying “yeah that is not me”, but start doing the math. It adds up quick whether you are drinking at home or out with friends. Then do the numbers on how much you would save by simply cutting alcohol out all together. It is an enlightening exercise.