The Good And Bad Of Drinking Alcohol


What’s a drink?

There’s a more likely compound in wine that might be reducing imbibers’ risk for heart attack other than resveratrol (recently found to be a dud). It’s the ethanol. Ethanol causes platelets in blood to be less sticky. You might say alcohol “thins the blood.”

This cross-sectional study found exactly that:

Alcohol Consumption and Platelet Activation and Aggregation Among Women and Men: The Framingham Offspring Study, Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, October 2005

Lead author Kenneth Mukamal:

“We found that among both men and women, an intake of three to six drinks per week or more was linked to lower levels of stickiness measured by aggregability. Alcohol intake was [also] linked to lower levels of platelet activation. Together, these findings … identify moderate drinking as a potential blood thinner.”

However, that same blood thinning effect increases the risk for stroke from bleeding (hemorrhagic). Alcohol also increases the risk for a clotting (ischemic) stroke. Alcohol also:

  • Increases the risk for various cancers, especially breast cancer, liver cancer, and cancers of the digestive tract.
  • Increases the risk for cognitive diseases like dementia and alcohol-related brain damage.
  • Increases the risk for insulin resistance and diabetes.
  • Increases the risk for osteoporosis.
  • Raises blood pressure.
  • Raises cholesterol and triglycerides.
  • Contributes to atherosclerosis.
  • Causes fatty liver disease and cirrhosis.
  • Causes inflammation of the pancreas.
  • Causes dehydration.
  • Reduces night vision.
  • Causes sleep apnea.
  • Causes increased wakefulness and insomnia at night.

Alcohol is one of those foods that really should be consumed in moderation. The CDC says “moderate alcohol consumption is defined as having up to 1 drink per day for women and up to 2 drinks per day for men.” A drink is defined as 5 ounces of wine or 12 ounces of beer (see photo above).

It’s also advised that regular drinkers should have 3 alcohol-free days each week.

People following a Paleo diet have a step up here. Beer, wine, and other fermented beverages containing alcohol are not part of a Paleo diet.

1 thought on “The Good And Bad Of Drinking Alcohol

  1. Pingback: Drinking Alcohol More Than Twice A Week Increases Stroke Risk Threefold | Fanatic Cook

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