How Much is Too Much?

According to government studies, for most adults moderate alcohol use -- up to two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women and older people--causes few if any problems.

Alcohol affects women differently than men because women’s bodies have less water than men’s bodies. Because alcohol mixes with body water, a given amount of alcohol becomes more highly concentrated in a woman’s body than in a man’s. 

Older people may have a lower tolerance to alcohol’s effects. Age tends to cause slower reaction times, problems with hearing and vision, and increased use of prescription and over-the-counter medications. Combine these factors with alcohol and the affects are amplified, putting older people at greater risk for alcohol-related crashes.

There is actually research that says limited consumption of alcohol may have some heart health benefits. However, if you currently do not drink, you should not begin drinking to achieve these benefits.

Certain people should not drink at all:

  • Women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant 

  • People who plan to drive or engage in other activities that require alertness and skill (such as using high-speed machinery) 

  • People taking certain over-the-counter or prescription medications 

  • People with medical conditions that can be made worse by drinking 

  • Recovering alcoholics 

  • People younger than age 21

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