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Alcohol that is consumed in moderation—so, not too much— is okay and can actually have health benefits.

What is moderation?

1 drink a day for women

2 drinks a day for men

What is considered 1 drink?

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This 5 oz glass of wine contains 125 calories.

About 12% alcohol

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This 12 oz can or bottle of beer has 150 calories.

About 5% alcohol

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This 1.5 oz shot of 80-proof liquor has 100 calories.

40% alcohol

What are the health benefits of moderately drinking alcohol?

  • Decreased risk for heart disease
  • Decreased risk for stroke
  • Decreased risk of diabetes

However, when you drink too much alcohol, it can damage your body. Heavy drinking is when you have “5 or more drinks on the same occasion on each of 5 or more days in the past 30 days”.

Click here to download the related reference from the National Institutes of Health (PDF file).

Heavy alcohol consumption can cause health problems such as:

  • Arthritis
  • Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
  • Heart Disease
  • Hyperglycemia
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Infertility
  • Kidney Disease
  • Liver Disease
  • Malnutrition
  • Obesity
  • Nervous Disorders
  • Obesity
  • Psychological Disturbances
  • Cancer

Alcohol and Cancer?

The risk of breast, rectum, pancreas, and liver cancer is increased with alcohol. The risk of lung, mouth, pharynx, larynx, and esophagus is increased when alcohol and tobacco are consumed together.

Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020” by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture gives recommendations for alcohol use.