Q. I read that a drink a day could help prevent heart disease and diabetes. Both run in my family so I am interested. But I never know how big a drink is. Is it a shot glass, a juice glass or an 8-ounce drinking glass?
A. The benefits of alcohol in preventing chronic health problems such as heart disease or diabetes remain controversial. Most health experts warn that no one should ever start drinking alcohol for purported health effects. Everyone knows that excessive alcohol consumption causes a great deal of misery in the world.
That said, if you already drink moderately and responsibly, there is a significant amount of research suggesting that a drink or two may indeed confer some health benefits. Red wine, for example, has been linked to less atherosclerosis and improved cardiovascular outcomes.
Your question is crucial to this discussion. How do you determine the appropriate amount and how much is too much?
Research suggests that one drink a day for women and up to two daily for men can provide health benefits. Scientists define a drink as one ounce of 100 proof alcohol. This corresponds to five ounces of wine or twelve ounces of beer.
So…bottom line, one “drink” is not a juice glass (unless it contains 5 oz. of wine) and definitely not an 8-ounce drinking glass (unless it contains one beer).