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Is Alcohol Actually Healthy?

Is alcohol good or bad? We’ve been getting mixed messages from media for years talking about how harmful or beneficial alcohol is to your health.

So what are the experts really saying?


Watch this video where Dr. Rob breaks it down for all of us who feel confused every time we pour a drink.–1NAK8LByk


The ‘main ingredient’ in alcohol is Ethanol,  it’s the active ingredient in alcoholic drinks, is generally referred to as “alcohol.” It is the substance that alters your mental  and physical state, aka ‘feeling buzzed’.


Generally alcohol dilates your blood vessels and slows your reaction time, which is why your face gets red and you may feel a bit clumsy after a few too many. The  effects can  start to show as quick as 5-10 minutes after you first take a sip and usually after 30-90 minutes.


After your body has absorbed the alcohol from your digestive tract it begins breaking it down in your liver and then the broken down ethanol is filtered out in your kidneys, which is why you often have to go to the bathroom more often after a few drinks.


So now we know what’s happening with the alcohol is it good or bad for us??

There are actually some surprising ways that alcohol may be good for you (in moderation)!!


1. Alcohol may be good for your heart health! That is if you are generally healthy one or two drinks a day may help lower your risk of heart attack and stroke!


2. It can help with cholesterol and artery health! Small amounts of alcohol can increase your ‘good’ cholesterol or HDL levels which help with your ‘bad’ cholesterol levels.


3. It helps your brain! A drink or two a few times a week may make you less likely to get Alzheimer’s disease.


So now that we know there are health benefits: which alcohol is the healthiest?
It’s less important what you drink versus how much you drink.


HOWEVER, red wine appears to be particularly beneficial because it is very high in healthy antioxidants. In fact, red wine is linked to more health benefits than any other alcoholic beverage


Before you start a petition to replace the office water cooler with a cask of wine let’s be clear: Alcohol is only healthy in smaller amounts — about 1 drink a day for women (5 ounces of wine, 12 ounces of beer, or 1.5 ounces of liquor) and 2 for men. After that, the benefits get hazier and the risks increase.


Alcohol consumption above these recommended guidelines actually INCREASES your risk for liver disease, heart issues, stroke, and dementia. Not to mention it can cause a wicked hangover (which is no fun for anyone).


Excessive alcohol intake is also linked with weight gain. Alcohol is the second most calorie-rich nutrient after fat — packing about 7 calories per gram! So tons of alcohol and healthy eating don’t really go hand in hand, especially if you’re trying to be mindful of calories.


Here is a chart showing what actually counts as one drink which can help you keep track at your next cottage weekend or happy hour this summer!

Standard Drink Sizes

While there are positives and negatives to alcohol consumption; don’t let the negatives stop you from enjoying yourself with an extra drink or two when the occasion calls for it.



To quote Duke University’s Dan Blazer“if you try to abide by every public health warning out there for every adverse effect, you’d have a miserable life. You wouldn’t do anything.”


So now that you have all the information you’re ready to face the summer and all the patios, docks, and backyard parties it throws at you.


If you’re still not sure, ask us at your next appointment!



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