Should I be worried about my drinking?

Over the course of the pandemic, one glass of wine a day has become two, and sometimes three.

Maybe, although not for the reasons you think. If you’re drinking two glasses of wine a day, and that’s it, you’re probably not an alcoholic. A “standard” glass of wine (one alcoholic drink equivalent) in the U.S. is defined as five ounces, which is less than many wine glasses hold. So you may be consuming more alcohol than you think. 

Look for alternatives to alcohol to mitigate stress, like exercise and meditation.

Even if you’re not, small amounts of alcohol affect your health. Having just one glass of wine a day increases the risk of breast cancer in a woman by about ten percent. Alcohol use also causes liver disease, including end-stage cirrhosis (with chronic drinking), acute inflammation of the liver, and can lead to cancer of the liver. Alcohol is also known to cause cancers of the GI tract, colorectal cancer, cancers of the oral cavity of the esophagus. (Listen to this podcast, in which I talk with researcher Connie Newman, for the bigger picture.)

I know many people believe a glass of wine is good for the heart, but some research shows that alcohol use increases the risk of heart disease, meaning angina and MI, a blockage in your arteries. It also increases the risk of stroke, particularly hemorrhagic stroke or stroke due to bleeding.

Life is stressful, especially right now, but there are other, healthier ways to reduce stress including exercise and meditation. I encourage you to try those and to cut back on the wine. Your body will thank you!

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