Does Moderate Drinking Really Offer Health Benefits?

moderate drinking health benefitsPast studies have concluded that moderate drinking can offer some health benefits, but new research shows that alcohol consumption may not help you live longer. Researchers reviewed close to 90 past research studies which were completed, analyzing the study data, conclusions and results. What the researchers found was that moderate drinkers may not be any better off than people who do not consume alcohol at all when it comes to survival and lifespan. Professor and Australia’s National Drug Research Institute Alcohol Policy Research team director Tanya Chikritzhs, who was also a co-author of the review, explained that “So-called ‘moderate’ drinkers do not live longer than nondrinkers. Among people who drink, it was actually the ‘occasional’ drinkers — those who drank less than a drink every 10 days or so — who did the best.” While some health experts agree with the review conclusion others do not. According to Chikritzhs and the research team reviews in the past did not take into consideration a very important limitation. The individuals who abstain from any alcohol use typically do so because of illness or poor health, and these people are more likely to die younger because of this limitation.

Boston University School of Medicine medicine and public health professor Dr. R. Curtis Ellison disagrees with the review findings on the health benefits of moderate drinkers. Ellison explained that “Scientific data continue to support the premise that small to moderate amounts of alcohol on a regular basis are consistent with a healthy lifestyle for middle-aged and older adults.” Chikritzhs explained the review team’s conclusions by saying “It is becoming clearer that it is much more likely to be the case that being a low or moderate drinker in middle age or older is a marker of good health, not a cause of it. Alcohol is a legal substance that many people enjoy, and that’s fine. But when it comes to health or thinking of alcohol as some sort of ‘medicine,’ even low doses are unlikely to prevent death.”

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