The questions and answers about the pros and cons of drinking alcohol have been debated throughout history. How do we define moderation? Why does how much we drink and when (aka drinking patterns) matter? Why do the French, consumers of lots of wine, butter and cheese have lower cardiovascular disease than most? What’s the connection between alcohol and cancer? Do genetics play a role?

Leave it to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health to put out this largely encompassing piece about the risks and benefits of alcohol, how to balance them and just about everything in between. Read on…

Screen Shot 2015-05-23 at 10.04.02 AM


Throughout the 10,000 or so years that humans have been drinking fermented beverages, they’ve also been arguing about their merits and demerits. The debate still simmers today, with a lively back-and-forth over whether alcohol is good for you or bad for you.

It’s safe to say that alcohol is both a tonic and a poison. The difference lies mostly in the dose. Moderate drinking seems to be good for the heart and circulatory system, and probably protects against type 2 diabetes and gallstones. Heavy drinking is a major cause of preventable death in most countries. In the U.S., alcohol is implicated in about half of fatal traffic accidents. Heavy drinking can damage the liver and heart, harm an unborn child, increase the chances of developing breast and some other cancers, contribute to depression and violence, and interfere with relationships.

Alcohol’s two-faced nature shouldn’t come as a surprise. The active ingredient in alcoholic beverages, a simple molecule called ethanol, affects the body in many different ways. It directly influences the stomach, brain, heart, gallbladder, and liver. It affects levels of lipids (cholesterol and triglycerides) and insulin in the blood, as well as inflammation and coagulation. It also alters mood, concentration, and coordination.

What’s Moderate Alcohol Intake? What’s a Drink?

Loose use of the terms “moderate” and “a drink” has fueled some of the ongoing debate about alcohol’s impact on health.

To read the entire article, click here.


photo credit



The College Party That’s Actually Sober

by Caren March 4, 2015

I drank plenty in college. Now I have two kids in college, a freshman and a senior, and I know they are doing the same. Rite of passage, way to unwind, liquid courage, social bonding–whatever the reason, legal or not, there is plenty of boozing taking place on college campuses across the country. Hard to […]

6 comments Read the full article →

And the winner is…

by Caren February 18, 2015

Thanks to those of you who submitted comments for our book giveaway. The winner of the copy of Sweet Survival: Tales of Cooking & Coping by Laura Zinn Fromm is SORI SCOTT.

0 comments Read the full article →

Book Giveaway: “Sweet Survival: Tales of Cooking & Coping”

by Caren February 11, 2015

The recently published book, Sweet Survival: Tales of Cooking & Coping (Greenpoint Press), by Laura Zinn Fromm, is a collection of essays that is part memoir, part cookbook. Trying to find comfort in a family fraught with mental illness, Laura weaves together stories about food and family, food and friendship, food and pain, food and life. […]

8 comments Read the full article →

When “Mommy needs a drink” Isn’t Funny Anymore

by Caren October 13, 2014

I recently came across a piece that was published last year, yet seems as important and relevant as ever. Originally published on Salon, and written by Leslie Garrett, the piece describes the author’s experience as both the daughter of an alcoholic and a new, tired, stressed-out mother, and how those jokes about mommy’s drinking can be deeper […]

9 comments Read the full article →