Alcohol Consumption: Harmful or Helpful?


ACE Fitness did a recent infographic on 6 Ways Alcohol Affects Your Health. I expected all the info to be bad, but some of it surprised me. Alcohol seemed to improve your health in some ways, but hurt it in others. However, a word they kept using over and over was “moderate” consumption – which led me to the question “What is moderate consumption?”

In bodybuilding, competitors drink a few ounces of red wine before they hit the stage to help them dry out more and improve vascularity. One thing I learned though is many people’s glass of wine turned into a Big Gulp sized cup of wine. So, since not everyone’s definition of a few ounces of wine is the same, I thought it would be good to do some digging to get some solid definitions and guidelines

Alcohol Consumption Defined

We’ve all heard that wine is good for the heart. But many people use this as their ticket to drink – and even abuse alcohol. How do you know if you are within the healthy limits? The Center for Disease Control has a nice FAQ sheet about alcohol. This is how they define moderate drinking, heavy drinking and a standard drink serving size. Here are a few key things I found online.

Moderate Drinking
According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans,1 moderate alcohol consumption is defined as having up to 1 drink per day for women and up to 2 drinks per day for men. This definition is referring to the amount consumed on any single day and is not intended as an average over several days.

Heavy Drinking
For men, heavy drinking is defined as consuming 15 drinks or more per week (that’s basically anything OVER the 2 drinks a day moderate level). For women, heavy drinking is typically defined as consuming 8 drinks or more per week (which is basically anything over the moderate level of 1 drink a day).

Standard drink in the US
A standard drink is equal to 14.0 grams (0.6 ounces) of pure alcohol. Generally, this is equal to:

  • 12-ounces of beer (5% alcohol content).
  • 8-ounces of malt liquor (7% alcohol content).
  • 5-ounces of wine (12% alcohol content).
  • 1.5-ounces or a “shot” of 80-proof (40% alcohol content) distilled spirits or liquor


drinking beerBeer or Wine VS. Liquor
One 12-ounce beer has about the same amount of alcohol as one 5-ounce glass of wine, or 1.5-ounce shot of liquor. It is the amount of alcohol consumed that affects a person most, not the type of alcoholic drink.

What is Alcohol Abuse?
CLICK HERE to learn signs of alcoholism and alcohol abuse. You may be surprised what you learn! Ever wondered if you or someone you love is an alcoholic? TAKE THIS TEST

Alcohol: To Drink or Not to Drink
CLICK HERE to visit ACE fitness and learn how alcohol affects your health – both good and bad.

God Warns Us About Alcohol Abuse

Do not get drunk with wine. That leads to wild living. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 5:18

Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise. Proverbs 20:1

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lionlooking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8

Do not gaze at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it goes down smoothly! In the end it bites like a snake and poisons like a viper. Your eyes will see strange sights, and your mind will imagine confusing things. Proverbs 23:31-33

If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple. 1 Corinthians 6:19

Owner of Lift Vero and motivational "pfitness, pfood and pfaith" blogger in Vero Beach, Florida.


  • Lauren

    Interesting read as I do enjoy a nice glass of wine (weekends). What are your personal thoughts and opinions when it comes to weight and maintenance?

    • Bonnie Pfiester

      what do you mean exactly? Do you mean what are my thoughts on alcohol when it comes to maintenance? Some people can maintain their weight, and even lose weight, and still have a glass of wine. It just depends on if there are room in your caloric budget, etc. 🙂 However, alcohol does affect your metabolism and has been also known to affect muscle development. While I don’t know just how much, we always recommend going without during weight loss mode. Hope that helps!!

      • Lauren

        Thanks Bonnie. Exactly what I was looking for. You really do not hear much about exactly how alcohol works from a fitness point of view regarding muscle growth. You always hear about the health ramifications, but not how it may be counter-productive for your muscle growth

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