Drinking one glass of wine each night with your dinner is ‘safer than having seven on a Saturday’
A glass of wine with dinner every night is safer than binge drinking on Saturday and doing absolutely nothing for the rest of the week, study claims
- US experts studied drinking habits of 1,000 Americans aged 30 and older
- Those who drink five or more drinks at once are more likely to have alcohol problems
- Meanwhile, those who drank one drink a day with dinner were less at risk
When it comes to wine, spreading your intake over the week is safer than drinking it all in one night.
Scientists have found that if you drink one glass every night instead of seven all at once, people are much less likely to become alcoholics or abuse alcohol.
The study followed 1,000 Americans ages 30 and older for nine years.
dr. Charles Holahan, study leader and professor of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin, said not all units of alcohol consumed are created equal.
“This means that a person whose total consumption on Saturday night is seven drinks has a greater risk profile than someone whose total consumption is a daily drink with dinner, even though their average drinking level is the same,” he said.
The NHS recommends that men and women do not regularly drink more than 14 units a week – about six pints of beer or 10 small glasses of wine.
But it warns against having more than five units at once — three beers or half a bottle of wine.
US experts, who studied more than 1,000 Americans aged 30 and older, found that those who drink five or more drinks at once instead of one a day are five times more likely to have multiple health problems.
How much alcohol is too much?
To keep the health risks of alcohol low, the NHS advises men and women not to drink more than 14 units per week on a regular basis.
One unit of alcohol is 8 g or 10 ml of pure alcohol, which corresponds approximately to:
- half a pint lower to regular lager/beer/cider (ABV 3.6%)
- a single small dose (25ml) of spirits (25ml, ABV 40%)
A small glass (125 ml, 12% alcohol) of wine contains about 1.5 units of alcohol.
But the NHS warns that drinking alcohol regularly increases the risk to your health.
Short-term risks include injury, violent behavior and alcohol poisoning.
Long-term risks include heart and liver disease, stroke, as well as liver, colon, moth and breast cancers.
People who drink as much as 14 units a week are advised to spread it evenly over three or more days, rather than binge drinking.
Women who are pregnant or trying to conceive are advised not to drink to reduce the risks to the baby.
The Texas team said the pattern of when these drinks are consumed — such as all in one day or spread out over the week — is overlooked in research, masking binge drinking.
To better understand moderate drinking habits and their impact, the researchers examined two questionnaires completed by 1,229 moderate drinkers, nine years apart.
Moderate drinking was defined as an average of no more than one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men.
But the researchers didn’t specify which type of alcohol counted as one drink.
People were classified as having alcohol problems if they drank alcohol to the extent that they were at risk for injury or emotional or psychological distress.
Alcohol problems also include people with a desire to drink alcohol that individuals could not resist, have to drink more alcohol to get the same effect, and drink much more than intended.
The results, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicineshowed that drinkers who drank were twice as likely to have alcohol problems at the end of the nine-year study compared to those who drank the same amount but split it over the week.
dr. Holahan said: ‘Many adult binge drinking escapes public health scrutiny because it occurs in individuals who drink on average.
“These findings indicate the need for alcohol interventions targeting moderate-level drinkers, in addition to conventional strategies targeting the high-risk but smaller population of usually high-level drinkers.”
dr. Rudolf Moos, co-author of the study and professor emeritus of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University School of Medicine, said: “In both scientific and media discussions of moderate drinking, drinking patterns are generally overlooked.
“As a result, many drinkers mistakenly assume that moderate consumption is safe, regardless of drinking pattern.”