How Much Alcohol Is Too Much?

When drinking, it’s important to know your limits. Here’s some help.

Guest post provided by Adrienne. See below for more information about this author.

These days, we receive a lot of conflicting information about the effects of alcohol.

In all likelihood, we know someone whose life and health have suffered from alcohol abuse.

But we also hear reports of the benefits of moderate alcohol consumption – as much as one or two glasses a day.

In this article, we look at some of the latest research about alcohol consumption and try to debunk some of the prevalent myths.

How Much is One Drink?

Individual tolerance to alcohol varies widely. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans defines a drink of alcohol as any of the following:

  • 12 ounces of beer (355 ml, or one bottle or can)
  • 5 ounces of wine (148 ml, or one medium sized glass)
  • 1.5 ounces of hard liquor (44 ml, or one shot)

For women, moderate drinking is defined as one drink per day. For men, two drinks a day is considered a moderate intake.

Factors that Affect Intoxication

In terms of alcohol’s effect on our mood and behavior, how and when we drink is as important as how much. A full stomach slows the rate at which alcohol is absorbed, meaning it takes more to feel drunk.

Alcohol tolerance is also affected by the amount and frequency with which we drink. Chronic drinkers can have as much as double the tolerance level of those who consume in moderation.

Lastly, our expectation when drinking will impact how alcohol affects us; studies have shown that when we drink to get drunk, we feel the effects of even a few drinks more strongly.

Health Benefits of Moderate Consumption

Alcohol raises good cholesterol (HDL) while lowering bad (LDL), which can reduce the risk of heart disease. Red wines, which are naturally high in antioxidants, are especially beneficial in this regard.

Alcohol may also lower your risk of diabetes. Drinking in moderation improves your body’s ability to process glucose, which reduces the amount of sugar in the bloodstream.

It can also lower risk of gallstones. In the same way that alcohol improves your heart health, it works similar magic on your gallbladder, reducing the amount of bad cholesterol, which can lead to gallstones.

Signs of Alcohol Abuse

Of course, these benefits only work when drinking is done in moderation. People with a genetic predisposition to alcohol abuse should be especially careful with their drinking habits. If you or someone you love has a tendency to drink heavily, be on the lookout for the following symptoms of alcoholism:

  • Withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, heavy sweating or anxiety
  • Missing work because of a hangover or being drunk
  • Drinking alone or in the morning
  • Frequent blackouts

Where To Get Help

Regardless of which symptoms you experience, if you feel that your drinking is negatively affecting your life, if may be time to get help. Many people find that a stay in a rehab facility gives them the structure they need to get their life back under control. Alcoholics Anonymous and other free support groups can help you maintain sobriety in the long term.

About the Author:
Adrienne is a blogger and aspiring writer. When she’s not blogging, you might find her practicing her French, whipping up some recipes she found on Pinterest, or obsessing over vintage postcards and stamps.



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