Moderation key to alcohol’s potential health benefits

January 26, 2023—Evidence suggests that moderate alcohol consumption may provide some health benefits, including lower risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. But any potential benefits must be weighed against potential risks, such as increased risk of breast cancer—not to mention the many harms that can result from excessive drinking—leading some experts to conclude that no amount of alcohol is safe to consume.

According to Eric Rimm, professor of epidemiology and nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the problem is not alcohol itself but the way it’s used. Excessive alcohol consumption can be dangerous; in fact, it’s the leading factor in the deaths of young men, he noted on the January 16, 2023 episode of the podcast Food, We Need to Talk. But that doesn’t mean other adults can’t enjoy it in moderation.

Rimm said that he would never suggest that someone start drinking alcohol for health reasons, but for those who already enjoy it, he said, “The biggest thing is just do it in a healthy way…stop at one or two [drinks].”

Listen to Food, We Need to Talk podcast: Resolutions—Is Alcohol *Actually* Healthy?

Learn more

Alcohol and health: It’s complicated (Harvard Chan School news)

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