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Are you a “weekend warrior,” abstaining from booze throughout the week so you can go hard on the weekend? You might think you’ve gamed the system. But there’s some bad news: drinking excessively on occasion is actually worse for your overall health and wellness than drinking moderately every day,according to various experts.
Studies show binge drinking, defined as four drinks for women and five for men within a two-hour period, not only boosts your risk of liver disease, it can also damage your heart, kidney and brain. That’s because people tend to underestimate the “standard” drink size, which means you might be reaching these limits faster than you realize.
Binge drinking can also increase risk of accidents, memory problems, strokes, insomnia, and alcoholism. Then there’s the common side effect of “liquid courage,” which can often cross the line into “liquid stupidity.” Alcohol increases impulsivity, leading to potentially regrettable decisions like eating a whole pizza, drunk dialing an ex, or worse, showing up outside your ex’s house at 3 am.
Hangovers are another inevitable side effect of binge drinking. Studies show eating or drinking water during a night out only slightly improve common morning-after symptoms like nausea and headaches. In the worst-case scenario, binging on booze can lead to alcohol poisoning, coma, or death.
Moderation may sound boring. But experts agree it’s much better on all accounts to drink moderately—one drink a day for women, two drinks for men—throughout the week than to save up all your booze points for a weekend bender.
Moderate drinking may even have some health benefits, such as reducing the risk for heart attack, stroke, and diabetes. However, most of these benefits likely won’t kick in until middle age or older.