Alcohol and Health – FAQs


Alcohol and Health – FAQs

In what follows, we will consider some of the frequently asked questions in this domain and discuss them.

Can you please note that what follows is based upon widespread general reading and interpretation butit is not qualified medical advice.

Is alcohol bad for your health?

Just about any substance, however natural and healthy, it is, can be detrimental to your health if it is consumed to excess.


Even clean water, if taken into large quantities, may be harmful to your health in terms of reducing essential electrolyte levels in your blood system.

Alcohol is a naturally occurring substance which is often produced without human intervention by natural fermentation processes. It has been consumed by human beings for millennia and for the vast majority of that period, it was only regarded as being harmful when taken in large quantities.

At the time of writing, the majority of medical opinion appears to suggest that the consumption of modest amounts of alcohol on an occasional basis is likely to cause no harm and in some instances, it might even have some health benefits.

There are some health counselors who argue that no alcohol at all should ever be consumed but at the moment they appear to be in the minority. Your own doctor is best positioned to advise on that one.

Why is there a medical dispute in this area?

Anyone much over the age of 40 will have seen several decades of earnest medical endeavor to try and identify lifestyle behavioral changes that will help us to live longer and healthier lives.

Although over that period of time there has been a lot of science conducted trying to identify those substances that may be harmful/beneficial, the results are sometimes contradictory and are open to different interpretations.

To take just one example, one only has to look at the constantly varying advice on the consumption of eggs over the past 30 years in order to see that scientists are human beings and as such, they sometimes get it wrong or fail to agree with each other as to what the results of tests mean.

In the case of alcohol, no medical scientist would argue that the regular consumption of large quantities will be anything other than harmful for your health.

Where there is some dispute is in the area of whether total abstinence is necessary or whether alcohol in modest consumption does no harm at all.

How much alcohol can I safely consume per day?

Please see your local state medical advice on this one. You may also wish to check with your doctor, as he or she may recommend reduced consumption levels for those suffering from certain types of medical condition.

It is though, generally agreed that consuming alcohol every day is not necessarily advisable. Most medical opinion appears to indicate that you should have some days where you do not consume alcohol at all.

Can I catch anything from alcohol?

In terms of infectious conditions, that would be extremely unlikely, as alcohol by its nature is effectively a disinfectant.

However, it is important that you use bars that self-evidently conform to good standards of hygiene, including having visibly clean beer dispensing systems.

Is there anything I can do to stop getting drunk?

The most obvious answer is to consume alcohol sensibly and avoid excess.

However, it’s not always as easy as that because people tolerate alcohol to different levels before there are any obvious visible physical effects or feeling “drunk”.

There are many old-wives tales on this subject but there may be a few things you can do to reduce the chances of alcohol going “straight to your head” on a night out:

  • It’s always advisable to drink on a full stomach. The amount of alcohol going into your system will be the same but its absorption rate into the body may be slowed if you consume it with food;
  • Check the alcohol content of any drinks you’re taking. Today there is a widespread fashion for fruity and sugary drinks with relatively high alcohol contents. They may taste entirely non-alcoholic but that can be deceptive and you may not realize just how much you are consuming. Make sure you read the label on the bottles carefully or ask the bartender to tell you.
  • Don’t “binge-drink”. Consuming an amount of alcohol over 4 hours may have a very different effect on you to drink the same amount within 1 hour. It’s normally a good idea to enjoy a drink slowly.more…