Alcohol: Health Benefit or Health Risk?

Article

We’ve all heard the news about the potential heart-health benefits of moderate alcohol consumption. It’s no wonder such stories grab headlines. They’re the nutritional equivalent of the classic media formula of “man bites dog.” As for the rest of us, we celebrate by raising a glass to our health.

But whenever I hear one of these reports, I wonder whether it actually ends up doing more harm than good. Most fail to mention the health risks of excessive alcohol consumption, which will do a body far more damage than moderate consumption will do it good. And they leave the impression that health benefits apply to men and women alike. Not so.

Most of the research regarding alcohol’s effects in raising good cholesterol, or HDL, levels looks at men and post-menopausal women. Very little, if any, evidence suggests that alcohol consumption in younger women is beneficial. Even worse, other studies associate younger women’s alcohol consumption with increased disease risk.

Up to 4 percent of breast cancers can be attributed to alcohol. According to a recent study in the British Journal of Cancer, every drink increases a woman’s chances of developing breast cancer. In a recent summary of 63 published studies, 65 percent of the studies found an association between alcohol consumption and increased breast cancer risk.

It’s tempting to dismiss these health risks by pointing to more obvious ones, like excess weight and inactivity. In fact, 54.3 percent of women age 20 to 39 are obese or overweight. But if you’re one of them and you’re trying to lose weight and increase fitness, drinking alcohol will hardly help you achieve your goals.

Add that much-ballyhooed glass of red wine a day without making any other changes in your diet or exercise, and you’ll gain nearly 15 pounds per year. In four years, you’ll be 60 pounds heavier, which won’t do much to help your heart.

Counting calories from alcohol can be doubly difficult. Not only are these calories less satisfying than those from food, these days they’re likely to come in super-sized martini glasses the size of swimming pools. Alcohol sabotages your diet in other ways as well. Lowered inhibitions can lead to overeating, while even one drink can dampen your metabolism for up to 24 hours.

Bottom line: Be honest with yourself. Don’t use health claims about spirits as an excuse to justify excessive drinking which endangers your life, liver, looks and limbs. Keep in mind that plenty of other, better ways to improve heart health are out there. Start by getting and staying fit. Exercise at least five times each week. And eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, whose antioxidants may reduce the risk of heart disease by reducing the oxidation of cholesterol in your arteries.

Most of all, remember that less is more. And get all the facts before you go looking for your health at the bottom of a glass of booze.

DISCLAIMER

We provide information for the benefit of visitors to the Website. While we make every effort to ensure the information is accurate and informative, the information does not take the place of professional or medical advice. Do not use our information to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or condition.

Never dis­re­gard pro­fes­sional med­ical advice or delay in seek­ing advice because of some­thing you have read on the Website or in any linked materials. If you think you may have a med­ical emer­gency, call your doc­tor or emergency service in your region immediately.

Not Medical Advice

The Principal author pro­vides the Website and any ser­vices, infor­ma­tion, opinions, con­tent, ref­er­ences and links to other knowl­edge resources (col­lec­tively, “Con­tent”) for infor­ma­tional pur­poses only. Noth­ing con­tained in the Website is intended to estab­lish or create a physician-patient rela­tion­ship, or is intended to replace the ser­vices of a trained physi­cian or health care pro­fes­sional, or oth­er­wise to be a sub­sti­tute for pro­fes­sional med­ical advice, diag­no­sis, or treatment. Any communications through the Website, or information transmitted to Jonsson Pte Ltd, does not constitute or create a doctor-patient relationship. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice.

Like this article?

Share on facebook
Share on Facebook
Share on twitter
Share on Twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on Linkdin
Share on pinterest
Share on Pinterest

About Nick Jonsson:

Co-founder and Managing Director at Executives’ Global Network (EGN) Singapore – Confidential Peer Network | #1 International Bestselling Author with “Executive Loneliness” | Keynote Speaker | Triathlon Athlete | Mental Health and Well-being Enthusiast and Educator.

Featured Podcast:

Episode 88 Released July 5, 2022 This week’s guest is Nick Jonsson, author of “Executive Loneliness”. For this week’s show …

Take a deep look into the perspective of senior executives and business owners.

Understand how the best leaders develop their personal skills, overcome challenges, and seize the opportunities to grow themselves and their companies.

Discover topics including leadership, diversity & inclusion, mental health, digital transformation, sustainability, working culture, and the future of work.

You might also like:

August 31th, EGN Managing Director, Nick Jonsson, was attending the ceremony of Entrepreneur 100 Award 2021 by the Association …

A poll of Singaporeans has revealed insights into why they are resigning from their current jobs, and where …

In celebrating our mental health and those who champion it, we would like to share that the Managing Director …

August 31th, EGN Managing Director, Nick Jonsson, was attending the ceremony of Entrepreneur 100 Award 2021 by the Association …

A poll of Singaporeans has revealed insights into why they are resigning from their current jobs, and where …

In celebrating our mental health and those who champion it, we would like to share that the Managing Director …

A special feature powered by Ferrari (Portfolio Magazine Singapore, Outlook 2022: Part 5/ March 3) EGN Managing Director, …

Managing Director of EGN Singapore, Nick Jonsson, is shortlisted as a finalist in the 2022 InsideOut Awards for …

Nick Jonsson, co-founder and managing director of EGN Singapore, is also the author of Executive Loneliness: The 5 …

Nick Jonsson with EGN Singapore won the Entrepreneurs 100 Award 2021: Singapore’s Emerging Entrepreneurs of the year. On an …

Recent changes in our work environments and psychological needs have accelerated the rise of a new core leadership …

EGN’s Managing Director, Nick Jonsson, was featured in The Business Times Views From The Top  alongside other executives …

We are proud to announce that our Managing Director, Nick Jonsson, is selected and published in the Candid …

Men for change – (Women Icons Network) Gender equality must start from home before it seeps into the …

World Kindness Day

In 2020, I made a bold move to tell the world how executive loneliness a few years earlier …

×