WVXU: A look at alcohol, de-alcoholized wine and everything in between

The University of Cincinnati's Michael Schoech joined WVXU's Cincinnati Edition for a panel discussion about current rates of alcohol consumption and the growing number of non-alcoholic alternatives.

Schoech, MD, said rates of alcohol use disorder and alcohol-related liver disease are increasing across age groups, but there has been a particularly significant increase among young people and women.

At the same time, the market for non-alcoholic alternatives is growing rapidly, but Schoech cautioned these are not without their own risk factors.

"You have to be a little wary of them, particularly in patients with alcohol use disorder and alcohol-related liver disease, because some of these products still have small amounts of alcohol, less than 0.5%," said Schoech, associate professor of medicine and medical director of liver transplant in UC's College of Medicine. "In addition, other products contain other unregulated substances which could be harmful to your liver and your health as well."

Current guidelines recommend no more than 14 drinks a week for men and seven drinks a week for women, with one drink defined as 12 ounces of standard beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of spirits. Overall, more research is needed to conclude if there is any safe amount of alcohol to consume, Schoech said.

"It’s up for reasonable discussion for what and when and how much alcohol you should drink," he said. "I think that question remains to be answered, but lower amounts of alcohol or if you’re not drinking at all, I would not recommend to start drinking."

Listen to the Cincinnati Edition panel discussion.

Featured photo at top of bottles of alcohol on shelves. Photo/Adam Wilson/Unsplash.

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