Disclaimer: The information, articles, and tips portrayed on this blog, while based on research, do not constitute medical advice. The opinions expressed are meant to educate and inform, but not to dictate lifestyle choices or personal beliefs. These articles are meant to provoke thought on issues surrounding college health and to inform the Hopkins community of healthy information and resources.


The Gender Debate Continues: Alcohol Edition


Men and women have a number of differences so it should be no surprise that differences are found in drinking levels. Not only are women drinking less heavily on average, they are also recommended to drink less in moderation than men for their health.

You may have heard that drinking alcohol can actually have health benefits.  Of course, this comes with moderation.  The recommended number of drinks for receiving those benefits for men is about 2 drinks per day and for women is one.  (Just a reminder, these are standard sized drinks for measurement, like a 5 oz glass of wine or 12 oz bottle of beer).

Why are men given the extra drink?  It turns out that one more drink can negate the positive effects and potentially lead to an increased chance for certain diseases, including various forms of cancer, for women who have more than the moderate recommendation.

While doctors are still trying to understand exactly why females respond differently to alcohol than males, they have a few theories.  One theory relates to the lack of hydration in a woman's body compared to a man's.  This means a woman is more likely to have a higher BAC level than a man who has been drinking at the same rate and is the same weight- simply due to the body's lack of water.  Another theory concludes that the enzyme that metabolizes alcohol in women does so more slowly than men.  An additional theory believes that the woman's hormones, like estrogen might play a role.

The theories may still be under review, but the proof is there-- additional consumption beyond the recommendations can lead to some dangers to one's health.   If you choose to drink, consider your health and even if you're only thinking of tomorrow, keep in mind how your body will need to function the following day or two.  Alcohol has both short term and long term effects-- play it smart, moderation is key.