If you believe that drinking wine with supper every night is beneficial to your health, you might want to rethink this practice. According to a recent study, there isn’t strong evidence that drinking in moderation increases lifespan.
The most recent meta-analysis, which was released in JAMA Network Open, looked at information from 107 studies that included more than 4.8 million people. According to research, persons who consume up to 25 grimes (g) of alcohol per day—one or two drinks—have a comparable chance of passing away before their time as people who abstain from alcohol their whole lives.
According to main research author Jinhui Zhao, PhD, a scientist at the Canadian Centre for Substance Use Research at the University of Victoria, many people who think one drink a day is excellent for the heart and for general health may be startled by these study findings. While a few older, smaller studies have hinted at this potential advantage, the most recent findings—which were compiled from several more recent, bigger research and reported in the Harvard Gazette—offer persuasive evidence to the contrary, continues Dr. Zhao.
The key takeaway, according to Zhao, is to be dubious of the claim that drinking alcohol in moderation leads to better health.
In addition, the current study, according to Zhao, adds to the expanding body of research showing that excessive drinking has substantial health hazards.
Drinking May Be More Dangerous for Women
Those in the research who drank more than 45 g of alcohol each day, or around three drinks, had a 19% higher risk of dying before their time than lifetime abstainers. Also, those who drank 65 g or more of alcohol each day—roughly five drinks—had a 35% higher risk of passing away before their time.
In comparison to nondrinkers, people who consumed between two and three drinks per day, or 25 to 44 g, also looked to be at higher risk of dying. Nevertheless, the results for this amount of alcohol consumption were not statistically significant, which means that the difference was too tiny to completely rule out the idea that it was the consequence of chance.
Moreover, drinking heavily seems to be riskier for women than for men. Women had a 61 percent higher risk of early mortality among those who used at least 65 g of alcohol per day compared to males, who had a 34 percent higher risk.
According to studies of alcohol, there are variations by biological sex, and Gregory Marcus, MD, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, who wasn’t part in the current investigation, adds that these disparities may be influenced by differences in body size.
According to Dr. Marcus, smaller persons who consume the same quantity of alcohol as larger people will have greater blood alcohol concentrations and potentially longer exposure times.
For the analysis, a conventional drink size in Canada, which is equivalent to 13.45 g of pure alcohol, was employed. A 12-ounce (oz) bottle of beer or cider, a 5-oz glass of wine or a 1.5-oz shot of spirits are examples of one standard drink.
Despite Limitations, the Study’s Results Are Robust
Several studies that were included in the study examined alcohol intake at a single moment in time, which might have resulted in conclusions that did not take into account changes in drinking patterns over time.
Another problem is that some studies may include lifelong abstainers with those who stopped drinking for health reasons, making it difficult to get a true picture of how any quantity of drinking compares to lifetime abstinence.
Nevertheless, according to Jennie Connor, PhD, MPH, an alcohol researcher and professor emerita at the University of Otago in New Zealand who wasn’t involved in the study, the results show that no one should drink wine in order to enhance their health.
When the defects and biases in the research papers are taken into consideration, the formerly extensively advertised evidence of a health advantage from alcohol for cardiovascular disease is now highly doubtful, according to Dr. Connor.