Drinking Patterns Matter to Heart Health

A recent  study of alcohol and heart disease gives a good reason to reconsider the excuse “But I only drink the equivalent of a drink or two a day”.  While research and dietary recommendations indicate that a drink a day for women, or 2 a day for men, is safe and may even have a benefit for heart health, you will have an altogether different effect from lumping all of those drinks into a couple of nights a week.

In other words, a man having 2 drinks a night every night of the week is likely to have lower heart disease risk than if he drank all 14 of those drinks in 2 days.  Moderate alcohol consumption seems to decrease atherosclerosis (hardening and narrowing of arteries), while binge drinking increases it.

This makes intuitive sense to me.  My one small glass of wine with dinner every night feels healthy.  Three or four in one night would cause me to feel unhealthy, even toxic.  Admittedly, I do not tolerate anything beyond moderate alcohol consumption.  Some people may say that they can “handle their liquor”, but it seems that their arteries may tell a different story.

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