A recent study debunks that drinking alcohol, even in moderation, regularly is beneficial for one's health.
Many of those who consume a glass of wine with their meals do so because they believe that it is good for their health, as reported by a slew of studies. However, many also fail to look at studies that say otherwise. For instance, a study has reported that seniors who has at least two drinks a day have an increased risk for cardiac failure.
In fact, one research of note states that abstaining from alcohol consumption, even for just a month, will boost health immensely. Study subjects had significantly improved sleeping patterns, concentration, and weight management.
The analysis, published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, showed how previous studies that claimed alcohol has health benefits had a significant bias in the comparison of alcohol consumption and mortality, which greatly affected the findings.
The study's co-author, Tim Stockwell says that the bias arose from how abstainers were defined. There is no clear cut definition of who are the moderate drinkers and how are they compared to light and heavy drinkers.
"We've visited an old chestnut in alcohol health research ... the idea that below a certain level we might call moderate, alcohol is actually beneficial and means that if you drink at that level you may live longer," said Stockwell.
He also said that the benefits of drinking were overly estimated, while its dangers were greatly underestimated.
Previous research focused on studying those whose declining health has pushed them to stop consuming alcohol. Naturally, these study subjects would have a significant health improvement when they stop drinking alcohol. This makes moderate drinkers have better life expectancy rates.
"When you correct for (that bias) it actually appears that the risks at all levels are higher than previously estimated," he added.
Stockwell clarifies that the research does not say light drinking is bad. He emphasizes that consumers should be more critical of studies that say alcohol consumption improves health and life expectancy. He also said that the alcohol companies are the ones who benefit from these early studies.
In a journal commentary, Jurgen Rehm of the Centre for Addictions Research in Toronto said that light alcohol consumption associated with health benefits is indeed overrated.
"In my view, nobody has to start drinking for health reasons," said Rehm.
The study was funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health. It reviewed 87 long-term studies, which involved about 4 million participants, including more than 350,000 mortalities.
Photo: Martha Jimenez | Flickr