What Is Considered Moderate Drinking?

a group of people engages in moderate drinking

Alcohol is America’s number one source of substance abuse and addiction. In fact, every year, millions of Americans experience drinking problems that qualify them for alcohol detox and rehab. You can lower your risks for these problems by only drinking in moderation. But what qualifies as a moderate level of alcohol use? There is no answer to this question that applies to all adults. That’s true because numerous factors can influence the impact that drinking has on your system.

Drinking in Moderation – How Much Alcohol Is in a Drink?

Before discussing moderate drinking, it’s essential to define precisely what qualifies as an alcohol serving. In America, the benchmark for a serving of alcohol is something known as a standard drink. No matter what kind of beverage you prefer, a standard serving contains roughly 0.6 ounces of pure ethanol. That’s the equivalent of:

  • 12 ounces of the typical beer
  • 8 to 10 ounces of malt liquor
  • 5 ounces of wine
  • 3 to 4 ounces of port or any other fortified wine
  • 2 to 3 ounces of liqueur
  • 1.5 ounces of cognac/brandy
  • 1.5 ounces of whisky, vodka, or any other hard liquor

Within any of these categories, significant variations between specific products are possible.

Moderate Drinking Guidelines for Different Groups of People

Men vs. Women

Not everyone can drink the same amount of alcohol and stay within moderate levels. One big difference is between men and women. Alcohol affects women more powerfully than it does men. That’s true even when a man and a woman weigh the same.

Compared to men, women are also more susceptible to alcohol-related problems and issues. For these reasons, moderation guidelines differ between men and women. Current guidelines state that men can consume up to two drinks per day. Women, in contrast, can consume no more than a single daily drink.

People Who Can’t Safely Drink Alcohol at All

Some people simply can’t drink alcohol in ways that are reasonably safe. That includes consumption at even a low or moderate level. Specific groups that fall into this category include the following:

  • Anyone taking a medication that causes a harmful alcohol interaction
  • Children, teens, and 20-year-old young adults
  • People with health problems that can be worsened by drinking
  • Women who know or suspect that they’re pregnant
  • Anyone in alcohol recovery

You also shouldn’t drink when doing certain things. That includes any activity that requires complete alertness, coordination, and powers of judgment.

The Notable Benefits of Drinking in Moderation

There are significant reasons for sticking to a moderate level of alcohol use. First, by doing so, you limit your chances of developing alcohol use disorder (AUD). This term covers both alcoholism and severe alcohol abuse.

Another significant benefit of drinking in moderation is lowering your future risks for heart disease. You may also be able to reduce your chances of experiencing a stroke caused by blocked arteries. The same holds true for your diabetes risks.

At one time, researchers believed that moderate alcohol use provides a health benefit in of itself. However, current evidence shows this line of thinking to be flawed. Never start drinking in an attempt to improve your health.

Learn More About the Limits of Moderate Drinking at Northpoint Colorado

Want to know more about the criteria for moderate alcohol use? Talk to the addiction experts at Northpoint Colorado. We’re standing by to explain which drinking guidelines apply to your situation. We can also help you determine if you should be drinking at all.

Worried your drinking has triggered the onset of AUD? Northpoint is here for you with customized detox and rehab plans that fit your unique recovery needs. For more information, call us today at 888.231.1281 or complete our online message form.