Consuming 14 drinks a week, averaging two a day, is actually beneficial for the heart, while 14 drinks over a weekend damages it, researchers found. The study is the first to provide concrete evidence of the benefit and harm of select drinking patterns. “People need to consider not only how much alcohol they drink, but the way in which they are drinking it,” the Daily Mail quoted lead researcher Dr John Cullen, of the University of Rochester Medical Centre in New York, as saying. “Scientists don’t yet understand how moderate alcohol consumption benefits cardiovascular health or how heavy drinking episodes hurt it. “Research shows that people have yet to be convinced of the dang ers of binge drinking to their health. We’re hoping our work changes that,” Cullen said.
The National Institute On Alcohol Abuse And Alcoholism in the U.S. defines binge or ‘at-risk’ drinking as consuming more than four drinks on any day for men, and more than three drinks on any day for women.
Understanding how much alcohol is in a ‘standard’ drink is also critical. Dr Kenneth Mukamal, of Harvard Medical School, studies the roles of dietary and lifestyle, particularly alcohol consumption, on the incidence of cardiovascular and neurovascular disease. “This evidence is very interesting because it supports a pattern of drinking that is emerging in clinical studies as both safe and seemingly most protective against heart disease – frequent consumption of limited amounts of alcohol,” Dr Mukamal said.
“This certainly backs up widespread clinical guidelines that limit drinking to one drink daily for non-pregnant women and two drinks daily for men,” Mukamal said. In the study, mice in the ‘daily-moderate’ group were fed ethanol equivalent to two drinks every day of the week.Mice in the ‘weekend-binge’ group were given approximately seven drinks on two days of the week and mice in the control group were fed a non-alcoholic cornstarch mix.