Moderate Drinking: Good for Health or Not?
If you haven’t been living under the rock all this while, you must have been aware of the fact that moderate drinking – so far- has been linked to several health benefits. In fact, it has also been claimed that consumption of moderate levels of alcohol is responsible for longer life expectancy and lowered risk of heart disease. Documented below are further details.
What is Moderate Drinking?
In recent times however the whole equation between moderate drinking and health benefits has been questioned. Before delving into details however we would like to inform you that moderate drinking implies 14 drinks each week for men and 7 drinks per week for women.
What the Meta-Analysis Says
In the year 2016, there was a meta-analysis of the long term studies on alcohol and death rates. It was concluded that the inferences highlighting the health benefits of moderate drinking were actually a result of the flaws of the design of the whole research- as in how these researches were conducted. One of the points of contention was that the studies primarily focused on the comparison between moderate drinkers and those who were completely abstaining from drinking in spite of drinking heavily before. The abstinence might as well have been because of their present health conditions. After these distortions were removed, the ones who conducted these studies never really found that moderate drinking was associated with potential health benefits.
However, the link between the health benefits and moderate drinking is only assuming a more confusing shape as a recent study published in the Journal of American College of Cardiology claimed that light to moderate drinking did reduce the risk of dying from cardio vascular diseases. People who totally abstained from drinking supposedly have comparatively higher risk. Notably, the study included over 333,000 individuals monitored between 1997 and 2009. Among those who were studied, around 34,000 died sometime during this period. And, it was found that light to moderate drinkers were less likely to die from cardio vascular diseases than the ones who didn’t drink at all. Notably, the authors were quick to point out that the study included only lifetime non-drinkers and not the ones who had given up drinking because they were sick now.
The relation between health and moderate drinking: Why it’s only getting more confusing with time
Tim Stockwell who is the lead author of this particular meta-analysis also happens to be the director of the Centre for Addictions Research of BC. He was of opinion that while nobody could claim that the study was backed by a poor design there still were certain problems that could in no way be denied. Stockwell notably acknowledges that the confusion pertaining to the health benefits of moderate drinking does demand empathy. He himself had the experience of wavering in his decision earlier but over all these years he has understood that it’s best to develop a “healthy skepticism” regarding drinking – one can drink it for pleasure once in a while without thinking that it is leaving a positive impact on his/her health.