Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to health problems. The World Health Organization (WHO) states there is no safe amount of alcohol consumption.

While previous health guidelines suggested that moderate alcohol consumption may provide some health benefits, health experts now advise that there is no safe level of alcohol consumption.

Older research may have overestimated the health benefits of moderate drinking. For example, older studies may suggest that some alcohols contain beneficial compounds that could support heart health. However, the risks of consuming alcohol, such as increasing the risk of cancer, far outweigh any potential benefits.

If a person still chooses to consume alcohol in moderate amounts, certain types of alcohol may be healthier than others. For example, some alcoholic beverages contain excessive sugar and calories, which can contribute to weight gain and other health issues.

By understanding the potential risks and benefits of different types of alcoholic beverages, individuals can make informed decisions on alcohol consumption.

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A statement from the WHO notes that no level of alcohol consumption is safe for health. The statement adds that the potential benefits of light and moderate drinking on heart health and type 2 diabetes do not outweigh the cancer risk.

Similarly, the United Kingdom’s National Health Service states that limiting alcohol can lower the risk of harming health, but there is no completely safe level of drinking.

For those who enjoy an occasional drink and still opt to consume alcohol, it can be challenging to understand which alcoholic beverages are preferable options. While there is no safe level of alcohol consumption, it is advisable to drink in moderation if drinking alcohol.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an adult of legal drinking age can choose not to drink or drink in moderation. The CDC describes moderate drinking as two standard drinks or less a day for males and one standard drink a day or less for females. One drink can mean 12 ounces (oz) of beer, 5 oz of wine, or 8 oz of malt liquor.

Experts agree that excessive alcohol consumption can have serious adverse health consequences, including:

Red wine comes from grapes, which contain antioxidant polyphenols, including resveratrol, anthocyanins, and catechins. As such, red wine may contain compounds beneficial to health, which can help with:

  • lowering the risk of heart disease
  • protecting the brain and nerve cells by penetrating the blood-brain barrier
  • reducing platelet aggregation, helping prevent the formation of blood clots

Additional benefits may include protection from some neurodegenerative diseases.

Learn more about the possible benefits of red wine.

Vodka soda is low in sugar and fat. A standard vodka soda has 133 calories in a 7.5-oz serving, so it is relatively low in calories.

Furthermore, consuming vodka increases leptin levels. Leptin is a hormone that adipose tissue, or body fat, releases. It plays a crucial role in regulating long-term body weight as one of its primary functions is to manage hunger and promote the sensation of satiety, or fullness, in the body.

Tequila comes from the blue agave plant, primarily grown in Mexico. This flavorsome spirit contains natural sugars called agavins, which may support digestive health and weight management.

Older research in mouse studies suggests that agavins present in tequila may aid weight loss and support bone health. However, results from animal studies do not necessarily translate to humans.

Find out more about the potential health benefits of tequila.

A Bloody Mary combines vodka with tomato juice and various other seasonings, such as Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and celery salt. A Bloody Mary also provides vitamins and nutrients due to its tomato juice content.

Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, a carotenoid that may protect against cancer, heart diseases, cognitive decline, and osteoporosis.

Learn more about the benefits of tomatoes.

A white wine spritzer is a mix of white wine with club soda or sparkling water. With a 5-oz serving of white wine containing 121 calories, people can reduce their calorie and sugar intake while still enjoying a drink by diluting or mixing it with a calorie-free carbonated beverage. Choosing drier wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio, further reduces the sugar content.

As with red wine, white wine also contains polyphenols that may provide health benefits.

Sparkling wines and Champagne are low in calories and carbohydrates, with a 4-oz serving containing around 80 calories. Like their noneffervescent counterparts, these wine varieties also contain healthy antioxidant polyphenols.

The bubbles in Champagne also tend to make a person feel fuller, which may facilitate drinking less.

Mulled wine pairs the antioxidants of red wine with a blend of spices and herbs that may boost the health-supporting properties of the drink, such as ginger.

Traditionally, mulled wine contains sugar, but people can replace it with stevia, a natural sweetener and alternative to sugar.

Hailing from Cuba, this refreshing cocktail contains rum, mint, lime, sugar, and soda water. Although rum does not appear to provide any specific health benefits, a Mojito is a low calorie option that people can dilute with more soda water and lime to lower its relative alcohol content.

A 6-oz serving of mojito contains around 140 calories, but people can replace the sugar with stevia to reduce the sugar and calorie content.

Light beer is a lower calorie and sometimes lower alcohol alternative to regular beer. A person can enjoy 12 oz of light beer for around 100 calories.

Some studies suggest that moderate beer consumption of one drink per day for females and one to two drinks daily for males may help decrease the risk of heart disease and overall mortality. It may also possess other metabolic health benefits.

However, this is a controversial topic, and many health experts believe that the risks of alcohol consumption outweigh these potential benefits.

Find out more about the potential health benefits of beer.

Made from apples, cider contains less alcohol content than wine but is also rich in antioxidant plant compounds. These antioxidants may help protect cells from damage that occurs due to free radicals. These antioxidants could help protect against certain types of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.

However, research also highlights links between alcohol intake with a higher risk of cancer.

Some common questions on healthy alcohol consumption may include:

What is the least harmful alcohol to drink?

All alcohol can be harmful, whether people drink in excess or only consume alcohol occasionally. Some types of alcohol that are lower in calories and carbohydrates include vodka soda and light beer. Other types of alcohol, such as red wine, are high in antioxidant polyphenols.

What is the healthiest alcohol for weight loss?

If a person wishes to consume alcohol when trying to lose weight, it is advisable to consider lower-calorie options. These may include Champagne, white wine spritzers, and tequila on the rocks.

What is the healthiest mixed drink?

When consuming mixed drinks, healthier options may include a spirit with a low calorie mixer that contains no added sugars. These may include diet sodas, soda water, and diet tonics.

Excessive alcohol consumption can have serious health consequences. Evidence also suggests that even low to moderate amounts of alcohol consumption can also have negative health effects, such as increasing the risk for cancer.

If a person still chooses to drink alcohol, they may consider that certain types of alcohol may be healthier options than others. These can include lower-calorie and high antioxidant options, such as red, white, and sparkling wine, low sugar cocktails, light beer, and cider.