Avoid binge drinking: Enjoy craft beer in moderation

CINCINNATI - Mark Twain, author of Tom Sawyer and famous humorist, once wrote, "Water, taken in moderation, cannot hurt anybody." For lovers of craft beer, the same may be said about savoring a local brew.

According to the Center for Disease Control one in six adults in the United States binge drink at least four times a month. And what is binge drinking exactly?

Binge drinking is defined as a pattern of drinking that elevates "a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 grams percent or above," according to The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

For an adult male, the CDC reports, that typically happens for a man who drinks five or more drinks within two hours, and for women who drink four or more.

What might be shocking for many is that 70 percent of binge drinking occurs with adults 26 years old and older and within households that make more than $75,000 per year, the CDC states.

Additionally, drinking too much cost the United States $223.5 billion in 2006, or $1.90 a drink in terms of lost productivity, health care, crime, and other related expenses, according to an article in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine.

So, how can a beer connoisseur enjoy a beverage without going overboard?

According to such sources as Indiana University's "Hints for sensible, moderate, and responsible alcohol consumption," it might be as simple as savoring the actual craft of the beer being drunk and savoring the flavor, instead of partaking in drinking games or drinking to get drunk.

Also, know the alcohol content of a craft beer being tasted. Some beers pack a stronger wallop than others.

And, of course, make sure to pair that beer with food. A full stomach takes longer to absorb alcohol into the body.

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