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Moderate Alcohol Drinking may not Prevent Heart Attacks - Older Studies May Be Flawed - Glass of Wine Every Day Shows No Benefit

March 31st 2006

Moderate Alcohol Drinking may not Prevent Heart Attacks - Older Studies May Be Flawed - Glass of Wine Every Day Shows No Benefit

Not as Healthy?

Earlier studies that suggest moderate drinking or a drinking a glass of wine everyday may help prevent a heart attack might be flawed.  This may be because people in the studies that quit drinking may have quit consuming alcohol because of poor health.  This could have skewed the results to favor drinking.  According to the report, “This was only the case, however, when they deliberately included error by evaluating both long-term abstainers with people who had reduced alcohol intake or quit drinking recently. Study authors caution their report has not disproved the notion that light drinking is good for health.” 

The new study simply questions the extent to which these benefits actually translate into longer life.  Kaye Fillmore, Ph.D. of the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), said “We know that older people who are light drinkers are usually healthier than their non-drinking peers.  Our research suggests light drinking is a sign of good health, not necessarily its cause."


Light drinking is defined as having one or two drinks per day, and drinking at least once a month.  Moderate drinking is 2 to 4 drinks per day.  Protection from death was found in the studies that included the “abstainer error”, but protection was not found in the few studies without the error.    In other words, the studies that did not account for people that may have quit for health reasons were the ones that indicated the benefits from drinking.  All seven studies without the error compared moderate drinkers with long-term abstainers.

Tim Stockwell, Ph.D. said “The widely held belief that light or moderate drinking greatly protects against coronary heart disease has had a great influence on alcohol policy and clinical advice of doctors to their patients throughout the world."  Stockwell is from the Addictions Research at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada. 


Researchers from the United States, Canada and Australia looked at 54 studies (35 of the studies evaluating heart disease deaths) concerning alcohol and death.  These studies showed that people that drank moderately lived longer than people who abstained.  Stockwell stressed the findings suggest caution “should be exerted in recommending light drinking to abstainers because of the possibility that this result may be more apparent than real.”

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By Dan Wilson
Best Syndication

Books on Heart Disease

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Copyright 2005 Best Syndication                                            Last Updated Saturday, July 10, 2010 09:50 PM