Alcohol is found in beer, wine, and liquor. It is made when yeast breaks down (ferments) the sugars in grains, fruits, and vegetables: Wine is made from the breakdown of sugar in grapes; vodka is made from the breakdown of sugar in potatoes.


In moderation, alcohol can be included in a healthy diet. Drinking in moderation is considered 1 drink per day for women and, as of now, 2 drinks per day for men: The 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans should come out by the end of this year, and one of the recommendations of their Advisory Board is to reduce the limit for men from 2, to 1, drink per day. The healthy limits apply to days in which you choose to drink, so you cannot increase your limit by skipping days and including your unused allowance in the day you choose to drink.

A drink is defined as a

—12 fluid ounces of beer
—5 fluid ounces of wine
—1.5 fluid ounces of hard liquor (vodka, gin, rum, tequila, whisky)

Red wine has been shown to have some heart health benefits, but non-drinkers should not start drinking if they do not currently drink.


-12 oz bottle of beer—140 calories (13 grams of carbs)
-1 pint (16 oz) of beer—185 calories (18 grams of carbs)
-12 oz light beer—110 calories (7 grams of carbs)
-16 oz Bud Light Lime-a-Rita—439 calories (58 grams of carbs)
-5 oz glass of wine—120 calories (4 grams of carbs)
-1.5 oz liquor—100 calories (0 grams of carbs)
-Mike’s Hard Lemonade—220 calories (33 grams of carbs)
-6 oz Long Island Iced Tea—245 calories (27 grams of carbs)
-12 oz frozen drink (margarita, piña colada)—870 calories (102 grams of carbs)


Women should not drink any alcohol while pregnant because of the risk of having a baby with fetal alcohol syndrome. Also, women should not drink while trying to get pregnant because whether a woman has become pregnant is not known immediately. Men trying to impregnate their partner should not drink heavily because it can increase the risk of having a baby born with heart defects.

If you are breastfeeding, it is recommended not to drink alcohol until your baby is at least 3 months old, and then only 1 or 2 drinks per week. After having an alcoholic drink, you need to wait at least 2 hours before breastfeeding your baby.

While a beer, a glass of wine, or a cocktail can be enjoyable, it is important to remember that alcohol is a drug and an addictive substance. Alcohol can become a bigger part of your life than you want it to if you are not paying attention to how much and how often you are drinking. You may even find yourself engaging in heavy drinking, currently defined as 15 drinks or more per week for men and 8 drinks or more per week for women. Over time, heavy drinking increases your risk of having high blood pressure, heart disease, or fatty liver disease, which can lead to cirrhosis or cancer.