Light to moderate alcohol consumption not beneficial to health

11/30/05

A number of studies published in the 1970s and 1980s suggested that small to moderate amounts of alcohol have a protective effect on ischaemic heart disease (IHD) that outweighs adverse health effects. However, Rod Jackson (University of Auckland, New Zealand) and colleagues state that the studies were non-randomised and any positive association could easily be due to confounding factors that were not considered. For example, a study this year on 200,000 adults in the USA found that 27 of 30 cardiovascular risk factors were significantly more prevalent in non-drinkers than in light to moderate drinkers.

Dr Jackson states: "Any coronary protection from light to moderate drinking will be very small and unlikely to outweigh the harms…Do not assume there is a window in which the health benefits of alcohol are greater than the harms – there is probably no free lunch."

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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