A Drink A Day May Not Keep The Doctor Away

by Jo-Ann Heslin, MA, RD, CDN on June 9, 2016 · 0 comments

Numerous news stories have reported that moderate drinking can help you live longer and lower your risk for heart disease. But, the scientific evidence may be shakier than we once believed. A recent study reviewed 87 previous studies that showed health benefits from moderate alcohol use. The current analysis of past studies did not support the idea that moderate drinkers, those who drank up to two drinks a day, lived longer or had fewer health issues than those who did not drink.
The researchers found many of the old studies had analysis flaws that gave a bias to the results. In fact, what the current analysis found was that occasional drinkers, people who had less than one drink a week, lived the longest. It is highly unlikely that such infrequent alcohol use was the actual reason for living longer. It is more likely that it was the combination of other healthy habits, along with infrequent alcohol use, that this group had in common and provided a longer life. The study did not look at the types of alcohol subjects drank, such as red wine. But, even if red wine is tied to living longer, it may be something other than the alcohol content that deserves the credit. You cannot lump together all types of alcoholic drinks when offering healthy advice.
What does this new information mean to you? We have been told many times that moderate, even daily, use of alcohol is a healthy habit. But we now have reasons to be skeptical of this advice.
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