Moderate Drinking Is Not Healthy: Myth Busted

During last several decades every health conscious person knew that moderate and regular drinking (one to two pegs a day) is healthy and it is especially good for heart health and also it helps in improving life expectancy, compare to non-drinkers. Even in medical schools the same was accepted to be correct and doctors across the world accepted this. In fact alcohol manufacturers (especially wine makers) were advertising this facts(?) generously for their benefit and most doctors were also subscribing to this theory. In fact there were hundreds of such studies conducted throughout the world and all the studies were found to give similar(?) results.

However, new study on those studies have found some fundamental flaw in most of those studies. Recently researchers at University of Victoria in British Columbia, studied more than 80 such studies (the studies conducted to prove that moderate drinking is good for health and improves longevity compare to non-drinkers) involving more than four million people and found the flaw. The researchers found that most of the studies did not categorize the “abstainers” properly, although moderate drinking was clear. Most of the studies (except 13 studies that separated lifelong non-drinkers from who used to drink and stopped) had included people who used to drink but stopped in the “abstainers” category along with complete abstainers. The individuals who used to drink and stopped may be inherently less healthy which distorted the study results.

When the researchers removed the “abstainer bias” and studied the older studies they found that there is no significant health benefit of moderate drinking, compare to total abstinence from alcohol. The researchers also compared regular moderate drinkers with individuals who drink less than once a week and found no significant advantage of regular moderate drinking.

Although most doctors and scholars accepted the theory that regular moderate drinking (especially wine) is healthy compare to non-drinking, many have already started questioning this logic/theory. Believers of this theory cite example of France, where moderate regular drinking is common and they have lesser cardiovascular problems, compare to most countries in the world. The better cardiovascular health of French people may be due to many other reasons, other than moderate wine drinking, such as healthy lifestyle, healthy eating etc.

The problem with this type of research (such as long term effects of alcohol/wine or diet on health) is that it takes very long time to get the possible results and also the results are observational, unlike testing effectiveness of a new drug on a particular population. This type of (observational) studies can show the possible association between two things such as moderate alcohol consumption and mortality or total non-drinking and mortality. However, it is still very difficult to prove direct relation between the two.

The new research/study of older studies at least shows that there was bias in selecting the candidates for the studies, which means the results are not free from bias.

Related Posts

Leave a Comment

Loading...