Since 1987, April has been designated as Alcohol Awareness Month. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, most adults who drink alcohol do so in moderation and are at low risk for developing problems related to their drinking. Moderation, however, is essential.
Over the course of the month, take some time to reflect on your own alcohol consumption patterns. A helpful source of information is the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
The U.S. Dietary Guidelines define moderate drinking as up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men. The guidelines define a standard drink as 12 fluid ounces of regular beer, 5 fluid ounces of wine, and 1.5 fluid ounces of 80 proof distilled spirits.
Because beer, wine and distilled spirits products come in different sizes and alcohol content, these clearly defined amounts serve as an important benchmark to help consumers follow the recommendations for drinking. Research shows that just having a brief discussion with a health professional can help individuals moderate their alcohol consumption. So talk with your family physician about your personal alcohol intake. Together, you can determine if you are consuming alcohol as part of a healthy lifestyle or if you need to cut back or abstain from drinking alcohol altogether.