Cheers to heart heath: How much alcohol is too much?

CINCINNATI - Dr Charles Glueck of The Jewish Hospital Cholesterol and Metabolism Center said the short answer is "no."

"In terms of triglycerides and diabetes, you want want to restrict alcohol. It's a major player in raising triglycerides."

Dr. Glueck said there is a popular misconception that a glass of red wine every day reduces the development of heart attacks. Alcohol intake raises the levels of triglycerides, which can increase the risk factor for stroke.

Alcohol can cause a small reduction of coronary heart disease with an average of three glasses per week, Dr. Glueck said, but the risk is again raised after about six.

"We recommend for most patients if they want to have three to four social drinks a week, that's fine. It's not therapeutic, but don't go beyond."

As far as an absolute number, Dr. Glueck recommends sticking between 14 to 21 drinks per week, but cautions that the numbers add up quickly.

"If people are in the habit of coming home and drinking a glass of wine with dinner and two drinks after work, that's 21 drinks every week there."

Going beyond that number can be dangerous in terms of both coronary heart disease and mortality, Glueck said.

For more information on health programs at The Jewish Hospital Cholesterol and Metabolism Center or to obtain copies of recipes, call (513) 924-8250.

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