Although health experts would much rather we stay away from alcohol, occasionally having a glass or two of certain beverages is not a big deal.
In fact, studies have shown that wine in moderation can be beneficial to our health, including reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke, thanks to the antioxidants.
But as the saying goes, "too much of a good thing can be bad."
Even though we're already aware of the negative impact alcohol can have on our health and social lives, there are some recent findings that put the nail in the coffin.
According to a new study published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, heavy consumption of alcohol can actually have long-term effects on your genes.
A team of researchers at Rutgers University found that binge drinking, can rewrite your DNA, which not only can have an effect on your overall health, it actually makes the cravings stronger.
The researchers looked at the PER2 gene, which controls the body's biological clock, and POMC, which regulates how our body responds to stress. They tracked changes in these genes in moderate, binge, and heavy drinkers and found that both genes were altered in the latter two groups.
One of the study's senior authors, Professor Dipak K. Sarkar, said in statement that these findings "may help explain why alcoholism is such a powerful addiction."
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines binge drinking as "a pattern of drinking that brings a person's blood alcohol concentration to 0.08 grams percent (0.08 grams per 100ml of blood) or above."
This level of intoxication usually occurs "when men consume five or more drinks or women consume four or more drinks in about two hours."
This definition highlights that there are more people binge drinking than we realize. Turns out, one in six adults binge drink about four times every month, and on average, they consume seven drinks per binge, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
So the results of this study shouldn't just be a concern for those who suffer from alcoholism, it's a wake up call for every one who drinks heavily without realizing it.
Not only does excess consumption of alcohol affect you in the short-term, it can permanently change our makeup at the most basic level.