Don’t be surprised – drinking in moderation can be good for your health: PennLive letters
Letters to the Editor
July 22, 2015
An interesting study from the American College of Cardiology found that adults over 65 who walked briskly, engaged in leisure activities, drank moderately, didn’t smoke and avoided obesity could significantly reduce their risk of heart failure. This is important information for older adults for whom heart failure is the leading cause of hospitalizations affecting millions of Americans.
While the study’s finding that alcohol in moderation is included among the healthy lifestyle factors may surprise some, it is well supported by the scientific literature.
The key, however, is moderation. According to the U.S. Dietary Guidelines, moderate drinking is defined as up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men. The guidelines define a standard drink as 12 fluid ounces of regular beer, 5 fluid ounces of wine, and 1.5 fluid ounces of 80 proof distilled spirits. Each of these standard drinks — be it spirits, beer or wine — contains the same amount of alcohol, 0.6 fluid ounces.
Importantly, no one should begin drinking alcohol as a means to attain potential health benefits. But for those who enjoy the conviviality of sharing a cocktail with friends or family, this study provides further evidence that alcohol in moderation can be part of a healthy adult lifestyle.
RAYMOND SCALETTAR, M.D., Washington, D.C.
Editor’s note: The writer is clinical professor of medicine at George Washington University Medical Center, former chairman of the American Medical Association and medical adviser to the Distilled Spirits Council.