Does Alcohol Affect Your Cholesterol?

What is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a naturally-occurring, waxy substance that’s produced by your body, but is also from food. One type of cholesterol, called low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, is “bad” cholesterol. It builds up on the inside of your arteries and forms plaque, which can restrict blood flow and create blockages or pieces of plaque that dislodge could result in a heart attack or stroke.


Beer doesn’t have cholesterol in it but it does contain carbs and alcohol, which can cause a rise in your triglyceride levels.


Whiskey, gin, vodka, and other hard liquor are cholesterol-free in origin but mixed drinks and new flavored versions contain extra sugars. Having more than one cocktail or mixed drink more than once a week will affect both your cholesterol and triglyceride levels.


According to research, the plant sterol known as resveratrol, found in red wine, may help reduce inflammation and prevent clotting in the short term. This can contribute to increased levels of “good” cholesterol.

How Much & How Often You Drink

Your heart is more affected by the amount and frequency that you drink than whether you choose a small whiskey neat or a pina colada.

Moderate drinking, defined by NIH as one drink/day for women and two drinks/day for men, is the amount of alcohol considered to have a shielding effect on the heart. Moderate drinkers were significantly less likely to have a heart attack compared with people who didn’t drink at all. Moreover, men who drank every day had an even lower risk compared to those who drank once or twice a week.

Research shows that drinking alcohol in moderation can raise your “good” cholesterol levels by increasing the speeds that proteins are transported through the body.

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