Moderating alcohol consumption

Telling someone to drink alcohol beverages in moderation sounds like Mom-and-apple-pie advice, right? Right. But — and you've heard this song before — what's moderation, anyway? Laypersons (you and me, babe) may define moderate in terms of the effects that alcohol has on the ability to perform simple tasks, such as speaking and thinking clearly or moving in a straight line. Obviously, if the amount of alcohol you drink makes you slur your words or bump into the furniture, that isn't moderation.

The Dietary Guidelines define moderate drinking as one drink a day for a woman and two drinks a day for a man. Aha, you say, but what's one drink? Good question. Here's the answer:

1 12 ounces of regular beer (150 calories) 1 5 ounces of wine (100 calories)

1 1K ounces of 80-proof (40 percent alcohol) distilled spirits (100 calories)

Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Agriculture, 2005)

^NG/ Some people shouldn't drink at all, not even in moderation, including people who suffer from alcoholism, people who plan to drive a car or take part in other activities that require attention to detail or real physical skill, and people using medication (prescription drugs or over-the-counter products). For information about who should and should not drink, as well as a list of drugs that interact with alcohol, take a look at Chapter 9.

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