So you all have to check out this article. Number 6 in particular (after you read this post first)!
There is always a lot of talk and research surrounding alcohol consumption, and as a dietitian I consider it my responsibility to let fellow wine and beer enthusiasts know the facts!
Research generally points to health benefits with “moderate” consumption of alcohol. In the recent past, the only positive research was with respect to wine (not beer and liquor).
And the advice was kind of swarmy…”if you already drink red wine, then a glass per night is protective for your heart, but if you are a non-drinker then you should not start drinking”. Kind of a cop out for a recommendation (sounds more like butt-covering). It seems like if it’s healthy…it’s healthy…At some point a person who drinks alcohol has to ‘start’, right?
No, but seriously…that recommendation probably has to do with not wanting to trade one problem for another. As in, well I have a healthy heart, but now I’m an alcoholic. Or, more realistically, ‘I became an alcoholic after being introduced to wine, and now even my heart isn’t healthy because I drink four glasses per night instead of one’.
Anyway, next came literature referencing the fact that beer might be healthy too, because it also has antioxidants and such. Again the key is moderation. You can check out some of beers virtues in a post I did this past St. Patty’s Day.
So, back to the article that I referenced earlier…#6 – Even one episode of binge drinking can harm your health.
Bah! That is bad news. Binge drinking is ‘defined’ as four drinks for women and five drinks for men in about a two hour period. Most people I know have probably pulled that off at least once…maybe twice.
The reason why it harms your health is truly fascinating though. It said that bacterial DNA was found in the bloodstream after leaking from the gut (that means your intestines and that is super nasty) in response to too much alcohol. And, as if that is not bad enough…elevated endotoxins were also found in the blood, caused when toxins were released from the cell walls when damaged by alcohol. This can lead to fever, tissue destruction, and inflammation leading to cancer and depression! Geez. A hangover sounds like the least of the worries.
Even with that said, I still support the consumption of alcoholic beverages. And I think that a moderate intake of alcohol fits very nicely into a well-rounded life and diet. Remember, we do not live in a food bubble…food chemistry is not the only thing that impacts our health. Our relationship with food and the manner in which food fits into our daily lives has a huge impact on overall happiness and consequently, health!
So, if you enjoy a glass of wine to wind down in the evening, or an after-work pint with a colleague…I’d say it is probably, physically and mentally, a healthy decision.