Many Americans enjoy an occasional alcoholic drink, and some enjoy drinking more than occasionally, which can cause detrimental health effects.
According to the Beverage Marketing Corp., in 2017, Americans drank approximately 27 gallons of beer, 2.6 gallons of wine and 2.2 gallons of spirits per drinking-age adult.
PIX 11 reported some of the effects of drinking alcohol.
Lots of Calories
Alcoholic beverages contain a lot of empty calories. A “standard” drink of beer in the U.S. is one 12-ounce can. The standard for malt liquor is 8 to 9 fluid ounces, and about 5 fluid ounces for red or white wine.
The calorie content of beer used to range from about 100 calories per 12 ounce light beer to 153 calories per regular beer — the same calories contained in two or three Oreo cookies. Some of today’s popular craft beers deliver up to 344 calories, approximately as many as there are in a McDonald’s cheeseburger.
If you pour approximately five ounces of white wine, there will be about 120 calories in your glass, with 125 for red. You can easily double that by filling your glass to the brim.
According to PIX 11, “Gin, rum, vodka, tequila and whiskey cost you 97 calories per 1.5 fluid ounces, but that’s without mixers. An average margarita will cost you 168 calories while a pina colada weighs in at a whopping 490 calories, about the same as a McDonald’s Quarter Pounder.”
Calorie intake also has a tendency to rise on drinking days when compared with non-drinking days, a 2013 study in the US found. The caloric increase was mostly due to alcohol, with men consuming 433 extra calories, and women adding 299 calories.
Heart disease and cancer
Recent studies have called into question the longtime prevailing wisdom that drinking in moderation —
one “standard” drink a day for women and two for men — is linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. Experts now believe such an outcome depends on your age and drinking habits.
The latest thinking is that any heart benefit obtained by moderate consumption of alcohol may be outweighed by other health risks, such as high blood pressure, pancreatitis, certain cancers and liver damage. Experts believe that is because alcohol weakens our immune systems, making us more susceptible to inflammation, a key cause of cancer, as well as infections and the integrity of the microbiome in our digestive tract.
Although studies show that drinking moderately over three or four days a week may lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, drinking heavily increases the risk. Consumption of too much alcohol inflames the pancreas, which is responsible for secreting insulin to regulate blood sugar levels in your body.
Mood and memory
Alcohol is a depressant. According to experts, the more you drink, the more your negative emotions, such as anxiety, anger and depression, are exacerbated. Binge drinking is associated with higher levels of depression, self-harm, suicide and the committment of violent offenses.
Alcohol can have a significant effect on your appearance. As a dehydrator, alcohol can leave your skin looking parched and wrinkled. Alcohol consumption is also linked to rosacea, a skin condition that causes redness, pimples and swelling on your face.
Alcohol can negatively affect your sleep, leading to the development of dark under-eye circles, puffy eyes and stress. You might also develop more signs of aging from drinking alcohol.