Words of Wellness: Enjoy Holiday Celebrations, But Drink in Moderation

Kelly Wingo is an Atlanta transplant, a soccer mom and a wife, and an academic advisor and instructor for the public health program at the University of Alabama. She lives in Tuscaloosa with her husband, Jonathan, her daughter, Maya, and a lovely golden retriever named Ellie Mae.  Kelly Wingo is an Atlanta transplant, a soccer mom and a wife, and an academic advisor and instructor for the public health program at the University of Alabama. She lives in Tuscaloosa with her husband, Jonathan, her daughter, Maya, and a lovely golden retriever named Ellie Mae.

Thanksgiving is almost here. This holiday marks the beginning of a season in which parties and celebrations often culminate in a great feast. Many of these upcoming feasts will include alcoholic beverages. Socializing with friends and family over food and drinks can be enjoyable, but there are serious risks that accompany excessive drinking. So, right now might be a good time to consider a few pointers related to drinking alcohol.

First, for various reasons, some Americans choose not to drink alcohol. In fact, according to Columbia University neuroscientist Dr. Carl Hart, nearly one-third of Americans label themselves as abstainers. If you don’t drink, you are in good company. Don’t worry, then, about feeling like an outcast while sipping on tea or water at your next gathering. Moreover, while there is some evidence to suggest that moderate amounts of alcohol have some health-related benefit, there is no reason to begin drinking alcohol.

Second, for those who choose to drink alcohol, the key to limiting the many risks associated with consumption is to drink in moderation. According to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, drinking in moderation means no more than 1 drink per day for women and no more than 2 drinks per day for men. A drink is defined as 12 oz. of beer, 5 oz. of wine, or 1.5 oz. of distilled spirits. One drink contains about 0.6 oz. of pure alcohol.  

Third, holiday weight gain is a common concern among Americans. One way to prevent or limit weight gain is to eliminate or reduce alcohol consumption. The calories in alcoholic drinks can really add up. An average bottle of beer has 153 calories, an average glass of red wine has 122 calories, and an average shot of gin has 97 calories. Keep in mind that these are “empty” or non-nutrient-dense calories.  

“Moderation” is key to many health-related issues. Practicing moderation is practical and often helps you to avoid risks to your health. One way you can stay healthy as you gather, reflect, worship, and give this Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and New Year’s is to drink in moderation. 

So, raise a glass (just one) to feeling healthy and well, and to being able to do more and be a blessing to others.  

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Druid City Living (DCL) is Tuscaloosa, Alabama's premier community newspaper, covering the great people, places and activities of the area.

 

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