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For years, study after study has claimed that drinking in moderation has potential health benefits. The most common of these supposed benefits has been a decreased risk of heart disease. However, a research team has recently come the conclusion that these previous studies were all a bit fucky.
This new study looked at 87 previous studies and found that they had a pretty shitty design flaw. They had included individuals who either couldn’t drink due to health problems or had already drank until the “check liver” light came on (before stopping) in their “non-drinker” group for comparing different levels of drinking. After correcting these problems, the team found no health benefits associated with moderate drinking.
But not all hope is lost. A study released on Monday, that was careful to avoid the mistakes made in previous studies, had some encouraging results.
The study used data from more than 333,000 people, who were tracked between 1997 and 2009. Of these participants, around 34,000 died sometime during the course of this eight-year period. Light-to-moderate drinkers were about 25% less likely to die from cardiovascular disease than those who didn’t drink at all.
The overall pattern found by the study suggests that moderate drinking (14 standard drinks or less a week) may be beneficial, but that increased drinking leads to increased risk. But the large number of conflicting studies that have been published over time has certainly left some confusion regarding the relationship between alcohol and health. While there may be risks, I think it’s safe to assume that neither you nor I will be going teetotaling-balls-to-the-wall abstinent any time soon. Instead, I’d like to quote the approach that Tim Stockwell (Director of the Centre for Addictions Research of BC) suggests:
Drink for pleasure, but don’t kid yourself that it’s making you healthier.
Can do, Tim. Can do.
It would appear that, for now at least, science can’t decide if drinking is good or bad for you in the long run. But I think it’s safe to assume that crushing what’s left of your Natty Daddy stash, or whatever booze you keep on hand, to celebrate the end of summer won’t be biting you in the ass anytime soon..