Can alcohol be healthy?

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Alcohol occupies a hazy spot in our diet. On the one hand, it’s common knowledge that drinking to excess is going to lead to a hangover in the short-term and far worse health consequences over time. However, various studies have shown hints of certain beneficial properties that, for example, a glass of red wine each day might have. A recent study has been able to reach a significant conclusion as to whether we can truly find anything healthy about drinking alcohol. Short answer? Not really.

Net health effects of alcohol

For every potential benefit that may accompany an alcoholic beverage, there can be an equal, if not more powerful, downside. In a study published online by the journal Lancet, researchers used data gathered by 12 different countries participating in the Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiological (PURE) study. By crunching the numbers on a huge collection of data involving nearly 115,000 participants, researchers found out quite a few things, including that drinking alcohol:

  • increased mortality rates
  • increased the risk of some cancers
  • led to no overall health benefits

This isn’t to say that alcohol has zero benefit. The same study also found a lowered risk of heart attacks among moderate drinkers and some studies have shown the antioxidants in wine to be helpful too. However, taken as a whole, these benefits are negated by the deleterious aspects of alcohol consumption.

Drinking alcohol realistically

While there are numerous ways in which the overconsumption of alcohol is bad for you, Olumia Life is primarily concerned with how to refine your current habits in order to make them healthier.

If you drink moderately, it’s unlikely that you need to stop altogether. Instead there’s lots that you can do to still enjoy a drink or two without worrying overly much about your health. One of the biggest consequences of drinking on your health is weight gain. This applies to all alcohol, not just beer and the beer belly. In much the same way that your body metabolizes fructose, alcohol is generally converted into fat.

While you can’t avoid this fact, even if you drink only whiskey neat, you can mitigate some of the other unhealthy aspects of alcohol, like extra sugar and carbs. For beer drinkers, keep in mind that each bottle is weighing down the starch half of your Nutritional Ratio. While it may not be a reasonable swap for more-discerning beer palates, switching to a low-carb beer can be useful.

Other drinks, like wine and many types of cocktails/mixed drinks, can contain higher levels of sugar, as does anything made with rum. (Rum comes from sugar cane after all.) If you like to have a glass of wine, mojito or whiskey sour now and again, keeping this in mind will help you keep your weight in control.

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