Light drinking helps heart health. But more than one drink
a day for women and more than two daily drinks for men are harmful.
That's the bottom line from a state-of-the-art review of drinking and health
by University of Missouri cardiologist James H. O'Keefe, MD, and
The researchers note that study after study shows health benefits for
moderate drinking. These benefits appear to come not from the type of alcohol,
but from the alcohol itself.
That's been seen as terrific news for tipplers. If a little is good,
wouldn't a little more be better? No, O'Keefe and colleagues assert. More is
not only not better -- it's harmful. Just a little too much is worse than none
And binge drinking, the
researchers say, is harmful even for otherwise light drinkers.
A drink may be smaller than you
think. O'Keefe and colleagues say a drink is a 12-ounce bottle of beer, a
5-ounce glass of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled liquor which all
have between 13 and 15 grams of alcohol.
Despite the health benefit of moderate alcohol consumption, the researchers
warn doctors against advising people to drink.
"Sobering statistics warn that moderate daily drinking is a slippery
slope that many individuals cannot safely navigate," they note.
O'Keefe and colleagues report their findings in the Sept. 11 issue of the
Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
By Daniel DeNoon
Reviewed by Louise Chang
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