Experts Say This Is How Much Wine You Should Be Drinking a Day for Optimal Health

The health benefits and downsides of wine, according to a Registered Dietitian.

If you've been guzzling more wine than usual or knocking back a few extra cocktails since the onset of the pandemic, you're definitely not (well, figuratively) alone. Market research provided by Nielsen reports that the U.S. sales of alcoholic beverages increased 55% in the week of March 21, with online sales rising a whopping 243%. Spirits like gin, tequila, and bottled cocktails jumped 75% in sales; wine was up 66% and beer rose 42% compared to the same period last year. And online wine has become our new normal: direct-to-consumer wine club Winc saw an unprecedented 578% increase in new member sign-ups week-over-week in late March and has welcomed more than 20,000 new members.

What can we say? Wine is delicious, soothing, and—so long as you're not sipping so many glasses that you wake up with an aching migraine—it has several health benefits worth noting. Here's what you should know about the health benefits and consequences of wine, according to a Registered Dietitian.

How Much Wine Should We Be Drinking a Day?

"Try to consume up to one glass per day for women and two drinks per day for men," says Marisa Silver, RDN. According to the 2015-2020 U.S. Dietary Guidelines, one alcoholic drink-equivalent is defined as 14 g (0.6 fl oz) of pure alcohol. For reference, this equates to 12 fluid ounces of regular beer (5% alcohol), 5 fluid ounces of wine (12% alcohol), or 1.5 fluid ounces of 80 proof distilled spirits (40% alcohol).

"There are certainly benefits associated with wine (and alcohol intake in general). But I would not recommend that anyone starts drinking or increases their intake of wine because of them, given that the many negative consequences can outweigh the benefits," she explains.

According to Silver, studies show that drinking wine—or any alcohol—can have both positive and negative effects on your body. "It really depends on the amount you drink, your age, genetics, and other variables," she says.

"There is strong evidence that drinking in moderation is associated with lower risk of cardiovascular and all-cause deaths in adults, and with preserving cognitive function as we age. That being said, moderate alcohol intake is also associated with harmful effects such as increased risk of breast cancer, and injuries from violence and accidents. Also, excessive intake is associated with a slew of harmful outcomes such as liver damage, hypertension, stroke, type 2 diabetes, multiple types of cancers, weight gain, and impaired cognitive function."

Wine does contain an antioxidant called resveratrol that is associated with many health benefits, from reduced inflammation to anti-cancer benefits. "However, you can also consume grapes, peanuts, dark chocolate and berries to benefit from this antioxidant without the harmful effects associated with alcohol," Silver says. "And research shows that wine consumption only slightly reduces inflammatory markers in adults when compared with those who do not drink."

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