Daily Dose of Coach #325: Drinking is Not About Healthy Vs. Non Healthy

I deal with people who enjoy adult beverages. Some are super embarrassed to tell me that they drink two beers a night because they're afraid of looking unhealthy or uncommitted. Some could care less and let me know that Monday will be tough because they usually partake in overindulgence on the weekend.

Either way, I think it's important to understand that alcohol consumption isn't about being healthy or not healthy. I know plenty of "healthy" people who drink in moderation.

Moderation can be defined by the US Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee as up to seven drinks a week with no more than three drinks per day for women. And for men, fourteen drinks per week with no more than four drinks in a single day. This seems a little aggressive to me for moderation. I'd advise you to maybe not think of yourself as the average American and tone that down a bit.

A drink is defined as 12oz beer, 5oz wine, 3oz of fortified wine, or 1.5oz of liquor.

In an article I read by Camille DePutter at Precision Nutrition; she made the excellent point that alcohol isn't making healthy or unhealthy choices, it's merely about trade-offs. She explained this using the following scenarios:

  •    Saying "yes" to six pack abs might mean saying “no” to a few drinks at the bar.
  •    Saying “yes” to Friday happy hour might mean saying “no” to your Saturday morning workout.
  •    Saying “yes” to marathon training might mean saying “no” to boozy Sunday brunches.
  •    Saying “yes” to better sleep (and focus, and mood) might mean saying “no” to your daily wine with dinner
  •    Saying “yes” to moderate alcohol consumption might mean finding a way to say “no” to stress triggers (or human triggers) that make you want to drink more.

Only you can determine what you're willing to trade. Another option is lowering the amount of alcohol you consume to decrease the consequence of that trade-off. Whatever it is, understand there's always some health trade-off when it comes to alcohol.