Moderate Drinkers Should Beware of the Binge

Seven drinks per week is a recipe for trouble if they're all consumed in one night
By Mike L. Ford,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 13, 2022 2:43 PM CDT
Updated Jun 18, 2022 5:15 PM CDT
Moderate Drinkers Should Beware of the Binge
   (Getty/Wavebreakmedia)

(Newser) – The NIH defines “moderate" drinking as one drink per day for women, two for men. But what happens if someone consumes that allotment in one or two nights of binging? According to CNN, a new study shows that is exactly how lots of moderate drinkers over age 30 consume alcohol, and it makes them five times as likely to encounter a raft of negative outcomes normally linked to heavy alcohol use: injuries, emotional and psychological problems, relationship and work troubles, and health problems. Study co-author Charles Holahan of the University of Texas at Austin says this means that someone "whose total consumption is seven drinks on Saturday night presents a greater risk profile than someone whose total consumption is a daily drink with dinner, even though their average drinking level is the same.”

Although binge drinking is more common in younger adults, it is increasingly common in older adults, including women, 25% of whom report binging about three times per month, and all of whom are "more susceptible to alcohol-related brain damage" and other ill effects, per an earlier CNN report. Holahan said the findings “point to the need for alcohol interventions targeting moderate average level drinkers." Per EurekAlert, the problems persist over time, as binge drinkers are also twice as likely to face alcohol-related problems after nine years, the study's timespan. Co-author Rudolf Moos says this drinking pattern is “generally overlooked” by science and the media, which “leaves many drinkers mistakenly assuming that a moderate average level of consumption is safe.”

The study was published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine and relied on data involving 1,300 drinkers within the NIH’s Longitudinal Midlife Development in the United States study, which has tracked American adults between ages 25 and 74 since 1995. Another recent study about the effects of alcohol on the heart adds weight to the case for cutting back. Per Science Daily, researchers with the European Society of Cardiology found that “levels of alcohol consumption currently considered safe by some countries are linked with development of heart failure.” (Read more alcohol consumption stories.)

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