Healing Foods Pyramid™

is included in the Healing Foods Pyramid™ as part of a balanced, whole foods, plant-based diet. This Food Pyramid emphasizes foods that nourish the body, sustain energy over time, contain healing qualities and essential nutrients, and support a sustainable environment.

What are the recommended servings per day?

* Although there are some documented health benefits to moderate alcohol consumption, we do not encourage people to start drinking. Potential health risks must be weighed. See below: What are the health concerns of moderate alcohol consumption?

What is moderate drinking?

This limit is based on the differences between men and women both in weight and the way they metabolize alcohol.

Is the risk-benefit balance for an individual drinker favorable or unfavorable?

Risk-benefit balance depends on the individual's age, gender, and history. We do not recommend alcohol consumption for:

Selected Alcohol Beverage Sources with Serving Sizes

Type of Drink

Serving Size

Typical % Alcohol

Total Amount of Alcohol


12 oz.

5 %

0.6 oz.


5 oz.

12 %

0.6 oz.

Hard liquor (whiskey, vodka, rum, gin, scotch)

1.5 oz.

40 %

0.6 oz.

The alcohol content of a beverage is dependent on its alcohol concentration, or % alcohol.

What are the potential health benefits of moderate alcohol consumption? Red Wine Liquor and Beer What are the health concerns of alcohol consumption? Specific Considerations Ideas for Moderate Alcohol Consumption


Adult Beverage Consumption: Making Responsible Drinking Choices
American Dietetic Association
Accessed June 4, 2009

American Diabetes Association
Accessed June 4, 2009

Alcohol Alert — Moderate Drinking
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
Accessed June 4, 2009

Alcohol Use: Why moderation is key
Mayo Clinic
Accessed June 4, 2009

Begin Your Search
Winery Bound
Accessed July 1, 2009

But I heard drinking was good for my health!
Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Accessed June 4, 2009

Find breweries, discounts, clubs and more
Accessed July 1, 2009

Half a Glass of Wine for Longer Life?
Hendrick, B
My Web MD
Accessed June 4, 2009

Lesson 2 — A Drink is a Drink, but People are Different
National Institutes of Health
Accessed June 4, 2009

Red Wine Antioxidant Fights Cancer
Warner, J
My Web MD
Accessed June 4, 2009

The Nutrition Source: Alcohol
Harvard School of Public Health
Accessed June 4, 2009

Original Research and Review Articles

Bagnardi V, et al. Alcohol consumption and the risk of cancer. Alcohol Research and Health. 2001;25(4):263-270.

Beulens JWJ, et al. Alcohol consumption and risk of Type 2 diabetes among older women. Diabetes Care. 2005: 28 (12) 2933-2938.

Cheeke PR, et al. Anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic effects of yucca schidigera: a review. Journal of Inflammation. 2006;3:6-12.

Cordova AC, et al. The cardiovascular protective effect of red wine. Journal of the American College of Surgeons. 2005;200(3)428-438.

De la Lastra CA, et al. Resveratrol as an anti-inflammatory and anti-agent: mechanisms and clinical implications. Molecular Nutrition & Food Research. 2005;49:405-430.

Di Castelnuovo A, et al. Meta-analysis of wine and beer consumption in relation to vascular risk. Circulation. 2002;105:1-9.

Horn-Ross PL, et al. Patterns of alcohol consumption and breast cancer risk in the California teachers study cohort. Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention. 2004;13:405-411.

Jacques PF, et al. Determinants of plasma total homocysteine concentration in the Framingham Offspring cohort. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2001;73:613-621.

Leifert WR, et al. Cardioprotective actions of grape polyphenols. Nutrition Research. 2008; 28: 729-737.

Leitzmann MF, et al. Alcohol consumption in relation to risk of cholecystectomy in women. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2003;78:339-347.

Maldonado MD, et al. Melatonin present in beer contributes to increase the levels of melatonin and antioxidant capacity of the human serum. Clinical Nutrition. 2009; 28: 188-191.

Romeo J, et al. Changes in the immune system after moderate beer consumption. Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism. 2007; 51: 359-366.

Tousoulis D, et al. Acute effects of different alcoholic beverages on vascular endothelium, inflammatory markers, and thrombosis fibrinolysis system. 2008; 27: 594-600.

Udenigwe CC, et al. Potential of resveratrol in anticancer and anti-inflammatory therapy. Nutrition Reviews. 2008; 66 (8): 445-454.

Ulrich S, et al. Molecular mechanisms of the chemopreventative effects of resveratrol and its analogs in carcinogenesis. Molecular Nutrition & Food Research. 2005;49:452-461.

Vally H, et al. Alcoholic drinks: Important triggers for asthma. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 2000; 105 (3) 462-467.

Vinson JA, et al. Phenol antioxidant quality and quality in foods: Beers and the effects of two types of beer on an animal model of atherosclerosis. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 2003; 51: 5528-5533.

The Healing Foods Pyramid™ was created by the Nutrition Education Team at the University of Michigan Integrative Medicine, Department of Family Medicine in 2005 and updated in 2009.