Study shows moderate drinking fails to produce any net health benefits

A review of 87 long term studies on alcohol and mortality, involving nearly four million people and 367,000 deaths, concludes that health benefits from moderate consumption are probably overstated.

Tim Stockwell of the University of Victoria's Centre for Addictions Research in British Columbia has taken another look at published studies on alcohol and mortality on nearly four million people, including more than 367,000 deaths:"We should drink alcohol for pleasure. But if you think it's for your health, you're deluding yourself."
The new review is in the March issue of the Journal of Studies of Alcohol and Drugs. The review notes that there is a problem in classifying abstainers. If these include former drinkers who quit especially if it was a result of worsening health, moderate drinkers health and life expectancy look better. The review concludes that one should be skeptical of the net benefits of moderate drinking of alcohol to health even though some studies suggest that those who are moderate drinkers have healthier hearts and longer life expectancy.
Jurgem Rehm of the Centre for Addiction and Health in Toronto said that there was a great deal of interest in studying whether light drinking is healthy or harmful. He notes that results of such studies have commercial implications. He made his remarks in a personal commentary on the review. He claims that the benefits of light alcohol consumption are exaggerated. He concludes: "In my view, nobody has to start drinking for health reasons. Those who drink lightly, if they stick almost religiously to one drink per day, no real problem. I would not advise them to stop."
While the benefits in general of light alcohol consumption has some importance, the harm or benefits to alcohol consumption in moderate amounts may depend upon who you are and your situation and even what sort of alcohol is involved. For example a study has shown that moderate consumption of red wine and even white wine is helpful for many diabetics in controlling their blood sugar levels along with other benefits as well. On the other hand, drinking is not advised for pregnant women as it can have detrimental effects on the fetus. A CBC article sums up some of the benefits and risks of alcohol consumption. The article notes: A dizzying array of research suggests alcohol can have both good and bad effects, but making sense of such studies all comes down to who you are and how much you drink.


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