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There Is No Amount Of Safe Drinking, Study Says

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drinking is not safe

If you have ever seen the show Scandal, you have known that the title character Olivia Pope had a great deal of stress. How she dealt with that stress certainly wasn’t novel: a giant glass of nice red wine at the end of the day. That, and popcorn, made for her dinner on many nights. Somehow, during the day she was flawless and poised.

Ann Dowsett Johnston, Author of DRINK: THE INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN WOMEN AND ALCOHOL, says that women in particular are drinking way more than they used to. “Wine has become the code for 'I deserve it, parenting is hard, I need to decompress,” she says. Mommy wine festivals, wine and yoga, wine paint nights – there are certainly ample opportunities for women to imbibe these days. (1)

What’s the harm in a glass or two?

A global study funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation says a lot. While the common consensus used to be that a glass of wine for women and two glasses per day for men was “healthy” this study suggests that no amount of alcohol is safe. (2)

Jeremy Pearson, associate medical director of the British Heart Foundation, says, "While there may be a slight benefit to heart and circulatory health from modest drinking, many studies have shown that the overall health risks of drinking alcohol outweigh any benefits."

While we may be paying much more attention to the opioid crisis, in reality, far more people are dying of alcohol every year than drug overdoses. (1) Alcohol accounts for nearly one in ten deaths and the US ranks seventh in the world in terms of alcohol-related deaths in women. Even small amounts of alcohol can contribute to health loss globally. (2) For ages 50 and up, cancer is the leading cause of alcohol related death. For under 50, road-injuries, self-harm and tuberculous were the leading causes. (Tuberculous is very rare in the US). (3)

People who have even just one alcoholic beverage a day have 0.5% higher risk of developing one of 23 alcohol-related health problems. This nixes the assumption that moderate drinking is a healthy endeavor. The World Cancer Research Fund released a report in May that said it is best not to drink alcohol at all, at least when it comes to cancer prevention.

According to many studies, a drink a day may lower a woman’s risk of heart disease. However, a drink a day also increases a woman’s risk of breast cancer.

Dariush Mozaffarian, dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, says, “no one should start drinking to prevent heart disease or diabetes. No organization has ever recommended to drink alcohol. The recommendation has been that if you drink — and that’s the key caveat — don’t drink more than moderately.” (3)

There seems to be a great interest in cutting back. There is Sober September. Go Sober in October. Dry January. “Sober months” seem to be all the rage and they may be a great excuse to take a break from alcohol and revaluate our relationships with it. Even one month off of booze can have significant benefits, like a reduction in body weight, blood pressure and improved liver function. (4)

Not to mention the money saved. Popcorn is much cheaper than popcorn and wine, Olivia Pope.

1.    'Pinking' of alcohol marketing spurs culture of 'wine moms,' says author Ann Dowsett Johnston. CBC News. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/ann-johnston-women-wine-moms-1.4517510 Retrieved 23 October 2018.

2.    LaMotte, Sandra. No amount of alcohol is good for your overall health, global study says. CNN. https://www.cnn.com/2018/08/23/health/global-alcohol-study/index.html  Retrieved 23 October 2018

3.    Ducharme, Jamie. A New Study Says Any Amount of Drinking Is Bad For You. Here’s What Experts Say. Time Magazine. http://time.com/5376552/how-much-alcohol-to-drink-study/Retrieved 23 September 2018.

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4.    Why Are “Sober Months” All the Rage Right Now? Mel Magazine. https://melmagazine.com/en-us/story/why-are-sober-months-all-the-rage-right-nowRetrieved 23 September 2018.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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