12 Surprising Facts about Alcohol, Drinking and Health

Here are 12 surprising facts about alcohol, drinking and health. There are a lot of myths about alcohol in general. And there are many about drinking and health in particular.

12 Surprising Facts about Alcohol

1. Drinking alcohol in moderation is linked to better health  and longer life1  than either abstaining from alcohol or abusing it.

2. Drinking in moderation reduces the risk of developing many diseases. They include these, among others.

Senility, including Alzheimer’s disease

Cardiovascular diseases

Rheumatoid arthritis

Enlarged prostate

Type 2 diabetes (adult-onset diabetes)



Gallbladder disease

Kidney cancer

Thyroid cancer

Hodgkin’s lymphoma (cancer)

Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (cancer)

Peripheral artery disease

Metabolic syndrome

Essential tremors

Hepatitis A

Kidney stones

Parkinson’s disease


Stress and depression

Common cold

Fatty liver disease

Asthma and lung disease

Abdominal aortic aneurysm

Hypertension or high blood pressure

Helicobacter pylori infection  (the major cause of hepatitis B)

Intermittent claudication.2

3. Moderate drinkers are much less likely than abstainers to have coronary heart disease and heart attacks.3  This is important. Coronary disease is the major cause of death in many other parts of the world.

4. Alcohol abstainers who begin drinking reduce their risk of cardiovascular and other diseases.4

5. Drinking increases the survivability of cardiovascular disease and heart attacks.5

6. Drinking increases the survivability of traumatic injury.6

7. Frequent drinkers have more heart-health benefits than those who drink less often.7

facts about alcohol

8. Exercising can’t replace the health benefits of drinking in moderation.8

9. Alcohol contains calories. But moderate drinkers tend to weigh the same or less than abstainers.  And they tend to gain less weight as they age.9

10. Beer and wine contain no fat or cholesterol. Spirits contain no fat, no cholesterol and no carbs. This is one of the important facts about alcohol.10    

11. All the minerals necessary for good health are found in alcoholic beverages.11

12. Alcohol is listed as medicinal in the United States Pharmacopoeia.12  The major use of the very highest proof (“strongest”) alcohol is medicinal.13

Did you know many of these 12  surprising facts about alcohol, drinking and health? Now you know them all.

Share these 12 surprising facts about alcohol with friends.

For More Facts about Alcohol

Alcohol: Health & Safety Facts

Fun Facts about Alcohol


1-3.  References located at Alcohol and Health.

4.  King, D., et al. Adopting moderate alcohol consumption in middle-age: Subsequent cardiovascular events. Am J Med. 2008, 121(3), 201-206. Sesso, H., et al. Seven-year changes in alcohol consumption and subsequent risk of cardiovascular disease in men. Arch Inter Med. 2000, 160(17), 2605-12. Granbak, M., et al. Changes in alcohol Intake and mortality. Epid., 2004, 15(2), 222-228.

5.  Mulcamel, K., et al. Alcohol consumption after myocardial infarction. JAMA, 2001, 285(15), 1965-1970. Alcohol and AMI: Benefits from beer, wine, and liquor. Am J Nurs., 2001, 101(8), 18. de Lorgeril, M., et al. Wine drinking and risks of cardiovascular complications after recent acute myocardial infarction. Circ., 2002, 106, 1465-1469. Gaziano, J., et al. Potential mortality benefits for drinkers with previous heart attacks. Lancet, 1998, 352, M 1882-1885.

6. Tien, H., et al. Association between alcohol and mortality in patients with severe traumatic head injury. Arch Surg. 2006, 141, 1185-1191. Salim, A., et al. Positive serum ethanol level and mortality in moderate to severe traumatic brain injury. Arch Surg. 2009, 144(9), 865-871. Alcohol may help protect trauma patients. U.S. News and World Report, October, 1, 2009. Ward, R.E., et al. Effects of ethanol ingestion on the severity and outcome of trauma. Am J Surg. 1982, 144(1), 153-157. Yaghoubian, A., et al. Elevated blood alcohol level may be protective of trauma patient mortality. Am Surg. 2009, 75(10), 950-953.

7. Anani, U., et al. Alcohol consumption and risk of coronary heart disease by diabetes status. Circ., 2000, 102, 500-505.

8. Pedersen, J., et al. The combined influence of leisure-time physical activity and weekly alcohol intake on fatal ischaemic heart disease and all-cause mortality. Euro Hrt J. 2008, 29(2), 204-212.

9.  Wang, L, et al. Alcohol consumption, weight gain, and risk of becoming overweight in middle-aged and older women. Arch Inter Med. 2010, 170(5), 453-461. Arif, A.A., and Rohrer, J.E. Patterns of alcohol drinking and its association with obesity. BMC Pub Hlth. 2005, 5, 126. Liu, S., et al. A prospective study of alcohol intake and change in body weight among US adults. Am J Clin Nutr. 1994, 140(10), 912-920. Hellerstedt, W. L., et al. The association between alcohol intake and adiposity in the general population. Am J Epid. 1990, 132(4), 594-611. Jequier, E. Alcohol intake and body weight. Am J Clin Nutr. 1999, 69, 173-174. Mannisto, S., et al. Alcohol beverage drinking, diet and body mass index in a cross-national survey, Euro J Clin Nutr. 1997, 151, 326-332. Istvan, J., et al. The relationship between patterns of alcohol consumption and body weight. Int J Epid. 1995, 24(3), 543-546. Breslow, R.A., and Smothers, B.A. Drinking pattern and body mass index in never smokers. Am J Epid. 2005, 161(4). Sung, K.C., et al. Relationship among alcohol, body weight, and cardiovascular risk factors in 27,030 Korean men. Diab Care, 2007, 30(10), 2690-2694. Wannamethee, S.G., et al. Alcohol intake and 8-year weight gain in women. Obes Res. 2004, 12, 1386-1396. Clevidence, B.A., et al. Lean and heavy women may not use energy from alcohol with equal efficiency. J Nutr., 1995, 125(10), 2536-2540.

10.  National Nutrient Database for Standard ReferenceCalories, Carbs & Fat in Popular Beverages.

11.  Ford, G. Wine, Beer and Spirits: the World’s Most Versatile Health Foods, in press, chapter 14 (Diet and Nutrition). USDA. National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 27. Agricultural Research Service website.

12.  U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention. United States Pharmacopeia. U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention website.

13.  Levinthal, C.F. Drugs, Behavior, and Modern Society. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1996, p. 231.