ABI supports moderate, responsible alcohol consumption consistent with one’s own medical needs. While there is a long standing consensus that moderate alcohol consumption can lower the risk of mortality, type 2 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and cardiovascular diseases, efforts to demonize all manners of alcohol consumption have endeavored to dim this “health halo.” Evidence supports the notion that moderate consumption can be part of a healthy lifestyle.
The 2015-2020 U.S. Dietary Guidelines define “moderate alcohol consumption” as up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men. One standard drink is equal to 12 oz of regular beer (5% alcohol), 5 oz of wine (12% alcohol), or 1.5 oz of 80 proof distilled spirits (40% alcohol). There is a longstanding consensus that moderate alcohol consumption can lower the risk of overall mortality, type 2 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and cardiovascular diseases such as congestive heart failure, ischemic stroke, and coronary artery disease.
Recent attempts to demonize all manners of alcohol consumption center around dimming alcohol’s “health halo,” and falsely equating alcohol with the dangers of tobacco. While no amount of tobacco consumption is safe, moderate, responsible alcohol consumption can be part of a healthful lifestyle.
Some studies dismiss the benefits of moderate alcohol consumption by attributing their cause to other factors, such as socioeconomic status, considering alcohol consumption typically increases with wealth.
Nonetheless, these same studies show that moderate alcohol consumption retains its health benefits when considering individual socioeconomic predictors (like income, education, or occupation), but not when all three are taken into account. Unsurprisingly, this suggests that the health benefits of moderate alcohol consumption are likely not an equivalent substitution for the combined advantages of robust medical care, the comfort of wealth, and job satisfaction. Far from denying alcohol’s health halo, this study and others like it indicate that moderate alcohol consumption can be incorporated into a healthy lifestyle.
Still other studies attempt to tie moderate alcohol consumption to cancer.
But investigations into the proposed molecular mechanisms of alcohol and cancer (in layman’s terms, ways that scientists think alcohol could cause cancer) haven’t been able to tie alcohol’s biological effects to cancer.
Since the overwhelming majority of the studies claiming moderate alcohol consumption causes cancer rely on self-reported drinking habits, the investigators are likely misinterpreting moderate consumption for the dangers of chronic, heavy consumption.
It is important to note that alcohol abuse can cause serious health and social problems, while even drinking in moderation may pose health risks for some individuals. ABI supports moderate, responsible alcohol consumption consistent with one’s own medical needs.