No Health Benefits From Drinking — Until You Hit 40!

There are many ways to improve your health, such as running regularly, doing yoga every morning, and hitting the bar every night.

Yes, drinking alcohol can offer some health benefits, a new global study confirms, as long as you’re the right age and don’t overdo it.

What is the right age? Well, apparently it’s 40 or older. If you’re this age, feel free to pour yourself a glass of wine and celebrate the study’s findings. If you’re 39 or younger, you may also pour yourself some wine, but just two tablespoons please. That’s how much you can safely drink, according to the study.

Two tablespoons may not seem like much, but if you take tiny sips, you can make it last an entire minute. And tomorrow, you can have two more tablespoons.

If you’re under 40 and angry about these findings, please don’t blame me. The people who deserve all the blame are at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at University of Washington’s School of Medicine.

“Our message is simple: young people should not drink, but older people may benefit from drinking small amounts,” said senior author Dr. Emmanuela Gakidou, professor of health metrics sciences at IHME, who is undoubtedly over the age of 40.

But before you send an angry email to Gakidou, it’s important to realize that she isn’t just trying to spoil your Friday nights. She’s trying to spoil your Saturday nights, too.

No, seriously, she and her co-researchers just want you to know all the facts.

“While it may not be realistic to think young adults will abstain from drinking, we do think it’s important to communicate the latest evidence so that everyone can make informed decisions about their health,” she said.

Printed copies of the study will soon be available at every drinking establishment, and by “soon,” I mean “soon as libraries start serving beer.”

The study, published in The Lancet and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is based on an analysis of 2020 Global Burden of Disease data for 204 countries and territories. Exploring the connection between alcohol consumption and 22 health outcomes, including injuries, cardiovascular diseases, and cancers, researchers determined how much alcohol a person can drink before putting themselves at greater health risk than a non-drinker.

For people aged 15 to 39, this amounts to one-tenth of a standard drink per day, though females may consume one-quarter of a standard drink per day.

If you’re in this age bracket, you may find yourself asking an important question: What is a standard drink and can I drink more if I have high standards?

Well, a standard drink is defined as 10 grams of pure alcohol. If you have high standards, this is equivalent to a small glass of red wine (100ml or 3.4 fluid ounces). If you have low standards, it’s equivalent to a can or bottle of beer (375 ml or 12 fluid ounces) at 3.5% alcohol by volume, or a shot of whiskey or other spirits (30 ml or 1.0 fluid ounces) at 40% alcohol by volume.

If you’re under 40, you can consume one-tenth of a standard drink without taking on any additional health risk. But unlike people 40 or older, you get no health benefits from drinking.

Once you hit 40, you can be a little naughty. But not too naughty!

As long as you have no underlying health conditions, drinking a small amount of alcohol at this age may provide some health benefits, such as reducing the risk of ischemic heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

At age 40 to 64, a person can safely drink between half a standard drink per day to two standard drinks per day. At age 65 or older, a person can safely drink about three standard drinks per day, but please don’t tell grandpa and grandma. They don’t need alcohol.

They feel naughty when they drink something that’s not tea.

Image courtesy of (Image courtesy:

Share this post