When it comes to consuming alcohol, what you drink is not nearly as significant as how you drink…or your consumption pattern.
A consumption pattern describes the way in which a population consumes alcohol and how such behavior adjusts to different cultures and societies. These patterns are defined by considering the amount of alcohol and the way it is consumed. To live a healthy lifestyle, it’s important to develop a healthy pattern of consumption that involves drinking in moderation.
First, it’s important to know what counts as a drink. In the United States, any drink that contains 0.6 fluid ounces (or 14 grams) of pure alcohol is considered “standard.” But the amount of alcohol can vary by type of beer, wine or malt liquor. The best way to know how much alcohol you are consuming is to read the label or search online.
Is your consumption pattern a healthy one? If you are a woman and consume no more than two drinks per day and no more than seven drinks per week, you are considered to be a low-risk drinker. If you are a man, you would need to consume no more than three drinks per day and no more than 14 drinks per week to be a low-risk drinker. Keep in mind that low risk does not mean no risk. Your age, how quickly you consume alcohol and your health can all be risk factors.
You can reduce your risks by cutting down on the amount of alcohol you consume (or eliminating it completely) and making sure you take steps to drink safely (pace yourself, eat food while drinking and don’t drive, etc.).