How to make alcohol less bad?

I agree completely with ds84. When it comes to discussions about alcohol, people’s brains seem to completely shut down and this bizarro, stern part completely takes over. “NO ALCOHOL NOT EVER” is the safest bet on what kind of reply you’re going to get.

Look, we all know that we’d all be healthier (and probably see better training benefits) if we cut out all alcohol. That’s not what the OP is asking. He’s asking how to minimize it while still being able to enjoy it, on a moderate basis.

On that note, one would think that spreading out your consumption over the week, while ensuring several “dry” days and staying within the recommended health guidelines is an acceptable practice. And, hey, if you’re out on vacation, live it up.

We’re human, folks. Moderation in all things – including moderation, itself.


Firstly, I’m really not sure why your post was a reply to mine? I answered the OP in a very non-judgemental tone. I’m not sure why you chose to reply to my post with this.

Secondly, can you please point me in the direction of this evidence? And I mean references to proper peer-reviewed papers from well respected psychiatric journals, not a google search and abstracts please.


If you are a college student, 6-9 drinks every night might also be an option😁

When you are young, your body gets very good at processing alcohol and you can get away with a lot. The downside comes years later when you have become accustomed to a high alcohol lifestyle, but your body is now not able to take it, and the big night out results in a 3 day hangover instead of a few hours like when you were 20.

To answer your question, Generally, consumption in moderation with higher frequency is less bad for your health.

Having said that, you can always find a study to say otherwise :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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It wasn’t meant to be a reply to your post. But this has happened to me before (hitting the specific “reply” button instead of the general one for the whole post0. My apologies. Making you the target of this—entirely accidentally—completely defeated the purpose of my post!

  • Stefanos Bellos et al., “Cross-Cultural Patterns of the Association between Varying Levels of Alcohol Consumption and the Common Mental Disorders of Depression and Anxiety: Secondary Analysis of the WHO Collaborative Study on Psychological Problems in General Health Care,” Drug and Alcohol Dependence 133, no. 3 (December 15, 2013): 825–31,

On older adults (although negative effects level the benefits over time):

  • Daniel Paulson et al., “The Relationship between Moderate Alcohol Consumption, Depressive Symptomatology, and C-Reactive Protein: The Health and Retirement Study,” International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry 33, no. 2 (2018): 316–24,

I am, of course, open to have my mind changed. :slight_smile:


There’s not access to the full text of either of those articles and it is impossible to critically appraise the study methods or results. The second relates to older adults and it’s not possible to ascertain if the results are sound or generalisable. I’m cautious about the self-report questionairre. CRP is a very non-specific indicator of inflammatory response, so again I’d be cautious about drawing any conclusion from that.

While 19 year old me would love to have believed this, sadly this isn’t true. You dont get better or worse at processing alcohol. The problem with significant alcohol consumption, just like excessive consumption of anything really, is that you only start to see the material impacts of that over time. Just like an unhealthy diet, it’s the prolonged nature of an unhealthy diet that leads to obesity issues, not one night going crazy on the all-you-can-eat buffet.

The OP is looking for a way to make alcohol less bad. I understand the ask but it’s skewed question. Alcohol is a poison for your body, albeit a tasty one, that is deeply rooted in social culture. The research supporting the impacts on alcohol are pretty deep, and it’s been covered a LOT on the podcast by @chad himself. It’s not black or white as to whether its good or bad, its a sliding scale. Quantity and timing are the two most important pieces. It slows/stops recovery, and a larger quantity has greater effects. You want to make it less bad, drink less, there’s nothing more to it than that.

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I would think those mental benefits are attained via the social aspect of “drinking”, rather than the actual ingestion; in the same way that “team sports” has higher mental benefits than solo activities.

My N=1 experience here is that going from “moderate” daily consumption (ie 3-5 ounces of liqour) 5-6x a week to drinking ~7 ounces of liqour once a week has been a remarkable improvement in my fitness, life, and general health and well being. I look forward to my night with friends, and I don’t leave it feeling drunk or destroyed the next day. I recognize 7 ounces of whiskey is a “lot” but it doesn’t “destroy” me, and while I feel it the next day for sure I can still complete my workouts. What is more is that the way I feel the day after makes me long for the rest of the week when I’m “dry,” and I relish the feeling of being wide awake, having slept well, and generally being healthier.

I still will occasionally (esp. after a rough day) drink out of plan, but for the most part I’ve drastically reduced alcohol consumption and seen a relatively drastic increase in well being. I get the way alcohol plays a part in our lives that is hard to give up, but once you push through a week it really isn’t so difficult.

PSA: I got away from the heavy beers. IPAs, etc, while tasty are devastatingly bad from a nutritional perspective. If you want the feeling of being buzzed but not the 7 billion calories then find a taste for Scotch, Whiskey, or Vodka.

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Sorry, my bad. There is through my institutions library subscription.

This is getting off-topic. We should open another thread if we want to debate the science of alcohol. But actually that wasn’t really my intention. :slight_smile: That’s kind of my point in the above post.


My N=1 is that regular seems to effect me more than the 4 - 6 on a single night. Two nights in a row definitely seems to take more of a toll on me.

I tend to gulp/ neck my first one of an evening, so one change I have made is switch to Session IPA’s for the first one or two, and then settle into it. Like they’re my warm up :smile: Sunday is generally my rest day, so I have managed to switch my beers with the lads from Friday to Saturday. It may effect recovery, but I certainly recover better now (on the saturday night/ sunday) than I did when it was Friday beers, club run on Saturday.

I know it’s not great for me, but the social aspect is important to me and my mental health, and I like my craft beers, trying new beers, specials etc.


FWIW, I drink about 2-3 beers a week, and feel a whole lot better all round (sleep, energy level, training) with that level of consumption vs what I used to consume. So I’m an advocate of drinking in modrratuon.

But 20-25 years ago I was able to drink a lot with very little short term Ill effects, so the incentive to drink in moderation wasn’t there. Just the opposite given the social norms when I was young ie drink to excess every night out.

Google Scholar can provide a PDF for one of the two.

At this point in my life I crave the taste of beer or wine with the appropriate meal. I drink a fair bit of o’doul’s these days, and save the wine for when I’m having Italian food.

How can you possibly train effectively with either of those options (not to mention the health related issues that come with drinking that much)?

Not that I ever drank that much to begin with, but I have maybe 1-2 drinks every 2-3 weeks. Sometimes even less than that based on upcoming workouts or events.

And don’t get me wrong here–I love me some good craft beer. The darker, the better.


Not at all related to the topic at hand, but… I clicked on your picture because I find it hilarious and saw that you are based in AA. I’m just 15 minutes down the road. You doing any races/events in MI this year? I’m doing the Waterloo Grit and Gravel race this weekend, which will be my first ever race. My goal is to finish. Don’t have anything else on the calendar after that, so would love to hear some recommendations if you have any!

I think people are confusing the intent of the post. If your response to the OP’s question is “MY GOD I WOULD NEVER DRINK THAT MUCH HOW COULD YOU POSSIBLY etc etc” then maybe you’re not the target audience for the question. I mean, granted, you can post whatever you want, it’s an open forum …

… but there’s a certain generosity that’s missing, here. Dude enjoys drinking, in moderation, wants to know how he can balance social drinking with his enjoyment of training. That’s all.

If you have1 drink every few weeks or a month, then … good on you? But I think the question is still totally reasonable. Maybe @chad will bless us with his presence?


My ex taught me that it’s not only okay to have a few drinks every night of the week, it’s damn near mandatory. On that note I work with a guy that drinks a 12pack of Busch every single day! He’s been that way for the 10 years that ive known him. But drinking those thick black Porters can be expensive and at 50+ it’s not as much fun as it used to be. So I’ve been cutting back myself.

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Statistically speaking people who have 1-2 units a day lives longer than people who dose’nt drink.

I would blame that on other factors but still…

And to OP … they also live longer than the people who party hard 1 day a wek !

This is the biggest reason for me to cut back – while I could drink all night when I was 25 and wake up just a little tired, one too many will leave me just wrecked the next day. If I could send a message to my younger self, it would be “start tapering off, now; in 10 years, you won’t enjoy it nearly as much but the habit will make it real hard to moderate”