We Asked a Doc: Is Cheap Alcohol Worse For You Than The Expensive Stuff?

December 2, 2016 by Lisa Fogarty
shefinds | Style

There’s a popular belief out there in party land that the more money you pay for a bottle or mixed drink made with the most expensive vodka or rum money can buy, the less likely you are to suffer the hellish consequences of drinking when you wake up the next day. Although this idea has probably resulted in way too many people paying way to much for what amounts to distilled potatoes (albeit, potatoes that go well with cranberry juice, we admit), if a few extra dollars adds up to no headache or queasiness in the morning, it’s well worth it, right?

It would be — if it were true. Turns out, it doesn’t matter whether you pay $60 or $16 for a bottle of liquor. Your ability to know when to walk away after one last round is the only thing that is going to save you from the negative effects of alcohol.

“Alcohol is alcohol is alcohol,” says Dr. Harold Jonas, CEO and Founder of “While some people will try to justify their consumption as being healthier with more expensive alcohol because it contains less congeners, and also sulfites and other additives in certain alcoholic beverages may cause allergic reaction in some individuals, when it comes right down to it — expensive or cheap alcoholic drinks both wreak havoc on the liver. It’s basic biochemistry. It comes down to only the volume that is consumed that matters most.”

If you’re a woman, play it safe by limiting your alcohol consumption to no more than three drinks on any given day and no more than seven drinks in a week, as recommended by the National Institutes of Health. Because men’s bodies are generally larger than women’s and it takes longer for them to process alcohol, the NIH recommends that men consume no more than four drinks per day and no more than 14 drinks in any given week.

For more health tips, check out The one thing you should never do to a blister and The absolute worst alcoholic beverages … for your skin

[Photo: Cheetah is the New Black]


Lisa Fogarty is a lifestyle writer and reporter based in New York who covers health, wellness, relationships, sex, beauty, and parenting.

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