How much is too much?
It’s a question that’s plagued wine lovers for years. On one hand, it’s easy to know when you’ve gone a little bit overboard. The dreaded hangover that results from having one too many during the course of the night is evidence enough that your body’s struggling a little with the volume of alcohol that you’ve consumed.
That’s why doctors always recommend that you consume alcohol in moderation.
A glass of red wine per night is the generally accepted amount. In fact, plenty of studies show that sticking to this limit could actually have marked benefits for your health. You get a nice boost of antioxidants into your system, which protects against strokes, heart disease, and other ailments.
There’s even evidence to suggest that red wine, in particularly, can help you to combat the signs of ageing. You can even bathe in the stuff to get that effect, as we discussed a little while back in our article about wine baths.
However, scientists continue to study alcohol and the effects that it can have on the human body. And if a recent study out of Cambridge University is anything to go by, one glass per day may actually be a little bit too much.
What Does the Study Say?
The first thing we should note is that this information comes from a study that was jointly conducted by Cambridge University and the British Heart Foundation. While this could lead to some claiming there’s a possibility of bias due to the involvement of a third party, we don’t believe that to be the case.
As mentioned above, there are plenty of studies that indicate that drinking Italian red wine can actually prove beneficial for the heart. The involvement of the British Heart Foundation likely suggests that the organisation wanted to know where the line gets drawn between beneficial and harmful.
After all, too much of any good thing can prove dangerous in the end.
So what did the study actually look at?
Researchers examine the drinking habits of over 600,000 people from all around the world as part of the study. They also didn’t limit their research to wine. They also looked at beer and other alcoholic beverages. In fact, the study was more of an examination of alcohol’s effects on the body rather than just wine’s.
Even so, the results may make for distressing news for some readers.
According to the study, drinking more than five glasses of wine per week could have serious health ramifications. In fact, the study concluded that drinking this much could knock several years off your life.
The study’s lead author, Dr. Angela Wood, was quick to point out that this doesn’t mean that you should stop drinking wine altogether.
When talking about the research, she said:
“The key message of this research is that, if you already drink alcohol, drinking less may help you live longer and lower your risk of several cardiovascular conditions.”
But how much is “less” in real terms? And how big of an effect does drinking over five glasses have on your body?
The study managed to put a numerical amount to the research to give you a good idea. It says that drinking 10 or more drinks per week could amount to you losing two years off your life expectancy.
However, it didn’t make any distinctions between the types of drinks that you consume. And it also appears that the study may not have considered the reported benefits of drinking red wine, in particular.
Does drinking 10 glasses of red wine per week have the same effect as drinking 10 glasses of beer or whiskey?
We can’t exactly be sure. And the study proved a little more hazy once you drop below the 10 drink level. While it recommends sticking to five drinks per week, it’s possible that going over would not have a massive effect on your health.
Having said that, the study did conclude that drinking more than five drinks per week puts you at increased risk of heart failure, stroke, and several other conditions.
The sheer size of the study is what makes this something that you should pay attention to. Getting the drinking history of 600,000 people is no easy feat in itself and the massive testing pool suggests that the research is as accurate as possible.
What Does This Mean For You?
It’s difficult to say.
This is still a fairly fresh study and there are others that contradict a few of the messages that this one puts out. Namely, the many studies that point to the health benefits of red wine cannot be ignored.
But as Dr. Wood suggests, the most important message to take away from all of this is that moderation is so important. Going overboard every once in a while likely isn’t going to have a massive effect. And drinking a glass per day instead of five per week likely produces fairly negligible effects on your health.
It’s when drinking to excess becomes a regular thing that you really need to worry. We all know about the dangers of alcohol dependence and the effects that it can have on the human body.
But as long as you drink to moderation, you’re likely following the right path.
The Final Word
We feel it’s important to point out that the xtraWine team is in no way qualified to offer medical advice and you should not consider the information in this article is a definitive set of rules one way or the other.
We’re simply pointing out an interesting study that casts a new light on alcohol consumption and what it may mean for your body.
If you have any concerns at all about how much you’re drinking or should drink, please speak to your doctor. They’ll provide you with direct advice.
For us, we believe that this study says that a glass of Italian wine every so often is okay. And it conveys the ever-important message that moderation is the key to everything in life.