Healthy Louisiana: Drinking in Moderation

Louisiana is a social state. Part of that social scene includes drinking — during Mardi Gras, at football tailgate parties, at neighborhood bars and often parents partake (a little) at children’s birthday parties. But what are the best ways to engage in moderate alcohol consumption without overdoing it?

The Guidelines

The US Department of Health and Human Services advises women to have no more than one drink a day and men to have no more than two drinks a day. What constitutes a drink? A drink is 12 ounces of a typical lager or lite beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of spirits (whiskey, vodka, and so forth).

The World Health Organization advises people to follow these guidelines, but to not drink every day. They suggest that people should have no more than 5 drinking days a week. So, even if it’s Mardi Gras or Christmas party season, give yourself a couple of days a week to detox.


Dr. Ryan Truxillo, a family medicine physician with Ochsner Health System, said it’s important to remember that alcohol is a toxin by definition, and is not good for you.

“The healthiest level of alcohol consumption is none,” Dr. Truxillo said.

It might be helpful for a Louisianian to think of it the way they think of, say, a fried seafood po-boy or fried chicken. Those foods are not healthy to eat, but it’s OK to enjoy them sometimes. Similarly, alcoholic drinks are not healthy, but it’s OK to enjoy them in moderation.

Speaking of eating, Dr. Truxillo also said that drinking should never be done on an empty stomach. If you’re drinking, make sure you’re doing it with a meal or shortly after you’ve eaten. Considering how much Louisianians love gathering ‘round the table (or seafood boil pot), this shouldn’t be an issue.

If you’re looking to moderate alcohol consumption, spritzers (which merge an alcoholic drink with a non-alcoholic mixer) are an option. Truxillo did warn however that when watching your weight, mixing spirits with soda can translate to a lot of calories, so be mindful of ingredients with soda and sparkling water.

Fresh Take

3 greens in season

Collard Greens

Are you worried about osteoporosis or other bone issues? Collard greens are an excellent source of vitamin K, which improves calcium absorption, which in turn aids bone strength.


Spinach made Popeye strong, but it has subtler benefits, too. Its carotenoids promote healthy eyesight and help prevent macular degeneration and cataracts.


High in fiber and B vitamins, this edible flower (yes, it’s technically a flower) aids digestion, weight loss, and has antioxidants to ward off cancer. Try roasting it for a tasty treat!


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