Study casts doubt on the benefits of light drinking

VIA FLICKR  SAMANTHA COHEN

VIA FLICKR SAMANTHA COHEN

Other recent research has found those aged 50 and up are most likely to be "hazardous" drinkers, particularly older men - and Hartz explained that it's these older drinkers who should be most concerned a 20 percent increase in risk of early death.

While light drinking was found to reduce the risk of heart-related problems, a new study suggests daily drinking eliminates said benefit, increasing one's mortality risk in the process.

The findings, conducted by the researchers of Washington University School of Medicine in the USA, revealed that any potential health benefits of alcohol were outweighed by other risks including heart disease, diabetes and cancer, resulting in death with its daily consumption. "With regard to cancer risk, any drinking at all was detrimental", Hartz added.

New U.S. research has found more evidence to suggest that light drinking may not be good for us after all, finding that a daily glass of wine may increase the risk of premature death. But that study looked at all types of drinking - from light alcohol consumption to heavy drinking.

Hartz noted that how significant a 20% increased risk of death is depends on your age.

Researchers at the University of Washington studied datasets from 400,000 people, some of whom have been monitored since the 1950s, to find out if the amount of alcohol they drank weekly was linked to dying early or prolonging life. Another group of almost 94 000 were between the ages of 40 and 60 and had been treated as outpatients at Veterans Health Administration clinics.

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He pointed out that "one of the study's conclusions was that, as medicine becomes more personalised, some patients with a history of cardiovascular disease may benefit from drinking two or three days a week, but those with a higher risk of cancer may not benefit".

Washington University School of Medicine's 1,300 faculty physicians also are the medical staff of Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children's hospitals.

This work was supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism and the National Center for Research Resources at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), grant numbers K08 DA032680, R21 AA24888, R01 DA036583, U10 AA008401 R21 AA025689, R01 DA033827 and UL1RR024992.

But a new study says that for most of us, that may not be true.

While Hartz acknowledges that there may be situations in which "occasional drinking potentially could be helpful" depending on a person's individual health history, she says that the general idea that a glass or two of wine is healthy is misguided. "But overall, I do think people should no longer consider a glass of wine a day to somehow be healthy".

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