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Dangerous Side Effects of Drinking Too Much Wine, Says Science

It's time to break the habit once and for all.
FACT CHECKED BY Kiersten Hickman

Today is National Drink Wine Day, which means a glass of cabernet sauvignon or riesling is warranted at the end of the workday. However, we also thought this would be a great opportunity to warn you about the potential risks that are associated with drinking too much wine—and far too often.

Below, you will see five side effects that could arise from drinking too much wine, or any alcohol for that matter, over time. And then, don't miss 15 Underrated Weight Loss Tips That Actually Work.

If you're drinking too much wine you could experience…


Alcoholic fatty liver disease

Middle-aged loving couple have a romantic dinner

The scary thing about Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (AFLD) is that it often comes without symptoms. In fact, the American Addiction Centers say AFLD is usually a silent disease, with the only notable symptoms in the early stages being aches in the upper right side of your abdomen and fatigue.

AFLD usually develops in those who have been heavily drinking for a long period of time. People at the highest risk of getting this condition are heavy drinkers who have certain genetic mutations or are obese. Women also have a higher likelihood of experiencing AFLD in comparison with men.

Bottom line: Try and limit your wine consumption to just one glass a day, or less, to dodge AFLD to the best of your ability—especially if you're someone who is considered high risk. Here's What Happens When You Drink a Glass of Wine Every Night.


Liver cirrhosis

Two elderly women drinking red wine from glasses, friends communication at home

Also known as late-stage scarring of the liver caused by liver disease and can eventually lead to liver failure if it's left unaddressed. Unfortunately, women tend to be at higher risk of liver cirrhosis than men, even if they're following the USDA's dietary guidelines of just one glass of alcohol (5 ounces of wine) per day. According to a 2018 study published in the journal Lancet Public Health, it was more likely for a healthy woman who drank daily to develop cirrhosis than one who drank less often.

A recent report from the American Journal of Preventive Medicine revealed that the number of non-Hispanic white women dying from ALD grew more rapidly over the course of two decades (1999 to 2018) compared to rates for non-Hispanic Black women. The biggest increase was, shockingly, among women ages 25 to 34. For context, it usually takes at least 1o years of heavy drinking to develop liver disease.

Bottom line: No one is immune to liver disease, no matter how young and healthy you are otherwise. And don't miss More Young Women in the U.S. Are Dying From This Diet-Related Disease, Say Experts.


Increased risk of depression

anxiety depression

No matter what the alcohol is—wine, beer, or liquor—studies have shown that routinely drinking heavily can put people at higher risk of depression. On the contrary, one study showed moderate alcohol intake within the range of 5 to 15 grams a day (a standard drink is 14 grams) was associated with a significantly lower risk of depression.

Bottom line: Consider pouring yourself a glass of red wine at night as it's filled with antioxidants, but try and limit yourself from having more than one glass each night.


Continuous weight gain

gaining weight

There is nothing wrong with red wine, so long as it's consumed in moderation. However, one 5-ounce glass of red wine clocks in at about 125 calories, so you can see how the calories can begin to pile up each week if you're having several glasses a night. In fact, having just two glasses a night tacks on an additional 1,750 calories to your diet each week, and that's if you measure it out correctly.

Bottom line: As tempting as it is to pour yourself that second glass of Pinot Noir each night, consider stopping after just one to help keep your weight in check.


Increased risk of death and disease

White wine

Again, it doesn't matter whether it's wine or another type of alcohol, studies have suggested that heavy drinking can put you at increased risk of premature death from cardiac incidents such as heart attack or even heart disease, for example.

Bottom line: As is the silver lining with all of these risk factors, drink wine in moderation to reap all of its healthful benefits without stepping into the danger zone of overconsumption.

For more, don't miss Drinking Habits That Cause Liver Damage, According to Science.

Cheyenne Buckingham
Cheyenne Buckingham is the former news editor of Eat This, Not That! Read more about Cheyenne
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