Can Alcohol Be Part of Healthy Living?Apr 03, 2023
Someone recently asked me if she can keep drinking wine if she starts working out regularly. I often get questions about alcohol use and whether it can be a part of a healthy living plan. And it’s a tricky subject because there’s no one answer for all people.
And lots of us like to unwind with a glass of wine, meet friends for cocktails, or have a beer while watching a game.
First off, to state the obvious, some folks should not drink at all – from problem drinkers to pregnant women and other people on certain types of medication. And, as the Mayo Clinic points out, “The latest dietary guidelines make it clear that no one should begin drinking alcohol or drink more often on the basis of potential health benefits.”
Still, light to moderate drinkers who are healthy can probably continue safely. And there might be some potential health benefits to moderate alcohol use.
As the Harvard School of Public Health puts it, “It’s safe to say that alcohol is both a tonic and a poison. The difference lies mostly in the dose. Moderate drinking seems to be good for the heart and circulatory system, and probably protects against type 2 diabetes and gallstones.”
There’s even some evidence suggesting that moderate drinkers are more likely to exercise than people who don’t drink at all – but the more you exercise, the more likely you are to drink sometimes.
“Moderate drinking” means up to one drink a day for women and two for men. “One drink” equals 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor.
But even moderate drinking has some medical risk. And heavy drinking, even weekend binges, causes tons of serious health problems, like high blood pressure, heart muscle damage, certain cancers, liver disease and brain damage. If you think you might have a problem, consult your doctor, a counsellor, or a 12-step group.
So, back to my client who asked if she could still have a glass of wine. The answer seems to be yes, enjoy a glass of wine in moderation if it’s already something you do.
Probably not a bottle a night, right?
However, I also let her know that if weight loss, or health issues, such as auto-immune or hormonal imbalances were something she wanted to get on top of, then I would advise to do a detox for at least a few weeks.
This is exactly what I do with my clients in my 12 Week Program. We detox from foods (and drinks) that cause inflammation...then we work out if alcohol is right for each individual over the long term, and how much is ok, or not ok, in any given time period, for each individual.
However, for most people it's a balance and can be part of a healthy lifestyle.
But for everyone, these are the elements of a healthy-living plan that are proven to be super-beneficial with no potential risk:
- Eat right.
- Exercise regularly.
- Get enough sleep.
- Manage stress.
I'm here to help with all of that and more, so let me know if I can be of service.
PS. My 12 Week Mindset/Movement/Nutrition Program is designed to help women 35+ find what foods cause them inflammation so they can lose weight, keep it off and thrive with energy & body confidence. Book a Discovery call with me here: https://www.andrearobertson.health/12WeekProgram