Too Much Alcohol Harms the Heart, Even if Just Occasional


Drinking alcohol in moderation (not more than one drink per day for women, not more than two drinks per day for men) has previously been shown to be heart healthy.  Alcohol can help raise HDL (good cholesterol, prevent blood clotting and has anti-inflammatory effects on blood vessels).  Heavy frequent alcohol consumption can raise blood pressure, promote blood clots and lead to irregular heart rhythms.

A new study published in the February 2010 issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology reports that occasional binge drinking can actually reverse the beneficial effects of moderate alcohol intake.  The researchers pooled data from 14 different studies that looked at moderate drinkers, they found that people who drank heavily every so often were 45% more likely to develop heart disease than people who drank in moderation but never binged.  (People who did not drink alcohol at all were not involved in this study.)  Occasional heavy or binge drinking was defined as five or more drinks in one day at least twelve times a year.

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Bottoms Up! The Adult Congenital Heart Association Prepares for St. Patrick’s Day with a Free Webinar:



“How to Have Fun Saturday Night Without Ending up in the ER Sunday Morning”

Millions of people will raise a pint (or three) on St. Patrick’s Day this year.  But for the more than one million people in the U.S. living with a congenital heart defect, the risks of doing so can be greater than just ending up on You Tube the next day. 

In the United States, 1 out of every 100 babies is born with a heart defect. Congenital heart disease is the #1 birth defect with more occurrences than Spina Bifida, Down syndrome or hearing loss, yet many are not aware of this condition. In most cases, scientists do not know the cause but feel both environmental and genetic factors appear to play a role. Today, most heart defects can be corrected or helped with surgery, medicine, or devices, such as artificial valves and pacemakers. In the last 25 years, advances in treatment of heart defects have enabled half a million U.S. children with significant heart defects to survive into adulthood.

The Webinar is Free and Open to the Public; Will Review the Implications of Imbibing While Living with Congenital Heart Disease, an Issue that Affects More than One Million People Nationwide


– Friday, March 12, 2010

– 8:00 p.m. EST

The Adult Congenital Heart Association (ACHA), a nonprofit organization which seeks to improve the quality of life and extend the lives of adults living with congenital heart disease (CHD), presents a free webinar just in time for St. Patrick’s Day: “How to Have Fun Saturday Night Without Ending up in the ER Sunday Morning.”

Presented by Karen Stout, MD, the webinar is designed to help CHD men and women over the age of 21 understand some of the cardiac concerns that can arise while imbibing, and tactics for minimizing the possibility of developing arrhythmias or other acute symptoms. 

This webinar is part of an series of monthly webinars that the ACHA is presenting to the CHD community. Topics range from timely (CHD and the H1N1 virus) to timeless (reproductive issues) and are always offered free of charge.


Karen Stout, MD, is and ACHD physician and the director of the Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program at the University of Washington and Seattle Children’s Hospital. 


More information on the webinar can be found on the Adult Congenital Heart Association Website at

Participants can register for the webinar at:

About the Adult Congenital Heart Association:

The Adult Congenital Heart Association (ACHA) is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life and extending the lives of adults with congenital heart defects (CHD).  ACHA serves and supports the more than one million adults with congenital heart defects, their families and the medical community—working with them to address the unmet needs of the long-term survivors of congenital heart defects through education, outreach, advocacy, and promotion of ACHD research. For more information about the Adult Congenital Heart Association, contact (888) 921-ACHA, or visit

We came across the above information and thought it was an important message to share. For more heart healthy info visit 

 Happy St Patrick’s Day !!

You Are What You Drink Blog Talk Radio Show


You Are What You Drink


So you are probably wondering… the beverages I drink really make that much of a difference? They are only liquids, right? Liquids “go right through me” so how much of an ill effect can they have?

You have probably heard the old saying “You are what you eat?”  Well, it is true, but “You are what you drink” also!

 Beverage Guidance Panel

 The Beverage Guidance Panel is a group of nutrition experts from the United States, which formed several years ago.  The purpose of this group was to review the existing research to determine which beverages are considered healthy.  They based their recommendations on the number of calories, energy and nutrients provided and health benefits of different beverages.  The winner hands down was water.  But that doesn’t mean this is the only beverage we should drink.  The Beverage Guidance Panel developed a six-level pitcher for beverages similar to the food pyramid.  (Published in the March 2006 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Available online at

 The average adult should aim to drink 8 glasses of fluids every day.  The Beverage Guidance Panel recommends:

 Water: at least 4 (8 ounce) servings a day for women and 6 (8 ounce) servings a day for men

Unsweetened coffee or tea (iced or hot): up to 8 servings of tea or 4 servings of coffee per day

Low-fat Milk: up to 2 (8 ounce) servings per day

100% fruit or vegetable juice, whole milk, or sports drinks: up to 1 (8 ounce) serving per day

Carbonated soft drinks: up to 1 serving per day

Diet beverages with sugar substitutes: up to 4 (8 ounce) servings per day

Alcoholic beverages: up to 1 drink a day for women and up to 2 drinks per day for men

Liquid or Empty Calories

In the United States about 20% of our daily caloric intake comes from beverages.  The Institute of Medicine recommends men have 13 cups (3 liters) of fluid every day and women have 9 cups (2.2 liters) of fluid every day. 

 Most experts now believe that part of the obesity problem in this country comes from the increased consumption of calorically sweetened beverages.  A recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (April 2009 issue) suggests that cutting back on liquid calories may actually result in greater weight loss.  The study evaluated 800 adult men and women for fruit and beverage intake and weight changes.  The results were interesting:

Cutting 100 calories a day from liquid intake lead to about a 0.5 pound weight loss at 6 and 18 months

Cutting 100 calories a day from solid food intake lead to about a 0.1 pound weight loss at 6 and 18 months

Eliminating one 12 ounce sugar-sweetened beverage a day lead to the greatest weight loss = 1 pound at 6 months and 1.5 pounds at 18 months

 If you are trying to lose weight you must remember to count your liquid calories!!

Should you drink wine?

Is it healthier to drink decaffeinated coffee or tea?

Does grapefruit juice really interfere with some medications?

Can diet soda really make you fat?

Is grape juice as good as red wine in preventing heart disease?

Can vegetable juice help promote weight loss?

Is organic milk really healthier?

These are just some of the questions we answer in our eBook….

 The above is the introduction to our new eBook called “You are What You Drink: A Healthy Beverage Guide” available on smashwords at

This eBook contains information on the health benefits and adverse health effects of water, coffee, tea, milk, calorically Sweetened Beverages (soft drinks), non-calorically sweetened beverages (diet soda), fruit and vegetable juices, alcoholic beverages, sports and energy drinks, how to read a nutrition label on a beverage and lots more…

You can visit for more info (Cheers)

Binge Drinking Increases Stroke Risk



Regular “moderate” alcohol consumption is associated with a lower risk for heart disease and strokes (1 drink per day for women and 2 drinks per day for men).  But heavy alcohol intake can increase the risk of strokes.  Excessive chronic alcohol intake has previously been shown to increase the risk of high blood pressure and heart failure.  A study published in the journal Stroke (October 2008) found that binge drinking (common among young people) can also significantly increase the risk of stroke.

 Over 15,000 men and women between the ages of 25 and 64 were followed for a ten year period.  Binge drinking was defined as 6 or more alcoholic beverages in one session for men or 4 or more drinks for women.  Binge drinking was reported to be an independent risk factor for strokes.

 Younger people need to understand the potential dangers of binge drinking.  Remember moderation is key!

 For more heart healthy info visit

Alcohol and Liquid Calories



Remember all calories count! Since there is no nutritional label on your alcoholic beverage you might not think about the calories you are ingesting. These calories can add up over time even if you are only having a couple of beers or glasses of wine each week.

Wine (6oz glass) = 120 calories

Light beer (12 oz) = 100 calories

Regular beer (12 oz) = 150 calories

Wine cooler (12 oz) = 225 calories

Liquor, 80 proof (1.5 oz) = 100 calories

If you are having a mixed drink you also need to calculate what you’re combining your alcohol with.

Small pina colada (5 oz) = 245 calories

Margarita = 157 calories

Long island iced tea = 230 calories

These are estimates since every bartender mixes drinks a little different and portion sizes may vary. Remember alcohol does have some heart healthy benefits but in moderation: women one glass per day, men no more than two glasses per day. Cheers!!