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Ugly Side Effects of Drinking a Glass of Wine Every Day, According to Science

Wine in moderation can be good, but some negative effects creep up if you aren’t counting your drinks.

While you've probably heard there are health benefits to drinking wine–especially red wine–everyone knows a heavy wine habit can have some nasty side effects. But is a glass of wine a day really a good thing? Studies are released all the time promoting the health benefits of wine in moderate consumption but the negative effects of wine can easily creep up if you aren't counting your drinks. "You don't need to drink every day, and less is probably best," says Lisa R. Young, Ph.D., RDN, "But if you do drink, the dietary guidelines advise one drink for women and two drinks for men."

However, consuming wine at this low level isn't right for everyone and you should be aware of the potential drawbacks of even light drinking. Before you pour another glass, read on to discover the major effects drinking even a single glass of wine regularly has on your health, according to science. Then you can decide if it's right for you. (Plus, don't miss Eating Habits to Lose Abdominal Fat As You Age, According to Dietitians.)

1

Increases risk for high blood pressure

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"According to guidelines, moderate drinking (one glass a day for women and two a day for men) is generally considered okay for heart health but can increase a person's risk for hypertension," says Young. Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, can lead to heart failure and kidney disease.

2

Wine can have an impact on your medication

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Alcohol interacts in potentially dangerous ways with many medications, including acetaminophen, antidepressants, anticonvulsants, painkillers, and sedatives, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. It can also render antibiotics useless. Be sure to read warnings on all medication before drinking.

RELATED:  This One Drink Provides the Same Heart Benefits as Wine, New Study Says

3

Drinking wine can boost breast cancer risk

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Even moderate alcohol seems to increase the risk of breast cancer, according to more than 100 epidemiologic studies. Researchers found that for every 10 grams of alcohol consumed per day (about one drink), there was a corresponding 7% increase in the risk of breast cancer.

4

It can also increase your total cancer risk

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According to a 2019 research article, drinking a bottle of wine a week—far less than a glass a day—increases a person's lifetime cancer risk as much as smoking five cigarettes for men and 10 cigarettes for women per week.

RELATED: A Bad Diet Is Worse for You Than Smoking, Reports a New Study

5

It can lead to an abnormal heartbeat

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This one's really scary! Frequently drinking alcohol, even in small amounts, can up your risk of an abnormally fast heartbeat. Researchers found that those who drank every day had the highest risk, compared to those who drank alcohol once or twice a week.

6

No amount of alcohol is good for your heart

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The World Heart Federation (WHF) recently released a policy brief that suggested: "No amount of alcohol is good for the heart." The brief adds that drinking alcohol has been linked to a slew of diseases like an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, coronary disease, stroke, heart failure, hypertensive heart disease, cardiomyopathy, atrial fibrillation, and aneurysm.

7

It can tax your liver

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Daily alcohol consumption requires extra work from the liver. The liver makes metabolic enzymes that digest and break up toxins like alcohol. Daily alcohol use can cause fibrosis or scarring of the liver tissue. It can also cause alcoholic hepatitis, which is an inflammation of the liver.

8

Your immune system can take a hit

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This is one major reason to avoid drinking daily. If you do, you might notice that you catch colds, flu, or other illnesses more frequently. This is because alcohol can weaken the immune system and make the body more susceptible to infections.

9

A daily drink can lead to issues

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While a single glass of wine a night isn't indicative of alcoholism, it can be a slippery slope. Having a drink every night doesn't always lead to alcohol use disorder, but it can increase the risk. According to WebMD, the one drink or fewer guideline is not intended as an average amount of alcohol intake over many days—but rather, as the recommended limit on alcohol consumption on any single day.

Red or white? It doesn't matter

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"Red wine is often considered healthier because of the high levels of resveratrol," says Young, "But you can also get this from red grapes. Quantity really matters more."

READ MOREOne Major Side Effect of Drinking White Wine Instead of Red

Tanya Edwards
Tanya Edwards is a seasoned food and health journalist, who has held roles at Yahoo Health as Managing Editor and at Food Network as Programming Director. Read more about Tanya