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The #1 Worst Drinking Habit for Your Heart, Suggests New Study

You might want to cut back, experts suggest.
FACT CHECKED BY Kristen Warfield

While you might enjoy having a few beers while hanging out with friends or a couple of glasses of wine to unwind at the end of the day, you might also do your best to limit how much alcohol you drink because you likely don't want it to negatively affect your body.

However, a study has now shown that the amount of alcohol that's considered safe might still be harmful to your heart.

In the study, which was behind the research that was presented at the Heart Failure 2022 & World Congress of Heart Failure event, the drinking habits and condition of the hearts of participants were monitored for around 5.4 years.

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While also taking other factors and overall risk levels into consideration, researchers found that those who were at less risk previously had experienced an increase in risk—a 4.5 fold increase—and a decrease in the heart of their health when they were drinking not only high amounts of alcohol but also moderate amounts.

"Our study suggests that drinking more than 70 g of alcohol per week is associated with worsening pre-heart failure or progression to symptomatic heart failure," said the study author and one of the presenters, Dr. Bethany Wong of St. Vincent's University Hospital, Dublin, Ireland, via EurekAlert!.

Wong also noted that to "minimize the risk of alcohol causing harm to the heart, if you don't drink, don't start. If you do drink, limit your weekly consumption to less than one bottle of wine or less than three-and-a-half 500 ml cans of 4.5% beer."

"This study adds to the body of evidence that a more cautious approach to alcohol consumption is needed," said Wong.

When it comes to how drinking can negatively affect the heart, Michelle Routhenstein, cardiology dietitian at EntirelyNourished.com, tells Eat This, Not That!, "alcohol can damage the heart muscle and prevent its ability to pump blood. This inefficiency in blood flow can lead to heart failure and other health problems."

To find out more about how drinking might be affecting your body, be sure to read 41 Ways Alcohol Ruins Your Health.

Desirée O
Desirée O is a freelance writer who covers lifestyle, food, and nutrition news among other topics. Read more