Moderate alcohol consumption has no health benefits, analysis finds
Drinking a glass or two of wine a day will not help one to live longer, according to new research that challenges the notion of benefits from moderate alcohol consumption.
Previous research has suggested that moderate drinking, meaning two drinks or less in a day for men and one drink or less in a day for women, may help prevent heart disease or even a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
The new analysis, published on March 31 in JAMA Network Open, reviewed more than 100 studies published as far back as 1980, involving nearly 5 million people in total.
It found that there was a "significantly increased risk" of death among female drinkers who drank 25 or more grams of alcohol per day, which is about two 5-ounce glasses of wine, two 12-ounce beers, or two cocktails containing 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits.
The same significantly increased risk was found for males who drank 45 or more grams of alcohol per day, or slightly over three standard drinks.
FILE - A woman pours wine into a glass at home. (Photo by Finn Winkler/picture alliance via Getty Images)
The analysis was conducted by researchers at the University of Victoria’s Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research and the University of Portsmouth’s Department of Psychology.
They concluded how many of these previous studies were flawed with "systematic biases" that may have skewed the results.
The study authors noted how scientists in previous studies failed to control for certain factors that are typical for light and moderate drinkers – such as being "systematically healthier" and tending to have better exercise habits and dental hygiene, lower weight, and wealthier. This, compared to those who completely abstain from alcohol, including those who had given up drinking and may be more likely to have health problems.
Meanwhile, excessive alcohol use is associated with numerous health problems, including chronic diseases such as liver cirrhosis, various cancers, and high blood pressure, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In the U.S., heavy drinking for men is typically defined as consuming 15 drinks or more per week. For women, heavy drinking means consuming eight drinks or more per week, according to the CDC.
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This story was reported from Cincinnati.