You can buy T-shirts, tote bags and stemware printed with the long-held belief that “a glass of wine a day keeps the doctor away.” But does it?
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While the health consequences of smoking and substance use are apparent, many people view drinking a glass of wine with dinner as not only benign but a “ heart healthy ” cultural cornerstone.
According to research published in the journal PLOS Medicine by Ulrich John of University Medicine Greifswald, Germany and colleagues, if you drink alcohol in the name of health, you might want to reconsider your position.
In their study of 4,028 adults, the researchers found that increased mortality among abstainers may largely be explained by other factors, such as alcohol or drug dependence, smoking and a history of poor health.
Doctors in many countries recommend light alcohol intake — a glass of wine or pint of beer per day — to benefit patients’ health, says John. This is an interpretation of older epidemiological studies “with many shortcomings,” which suggest that alcohol abstainers have a higher mortality rate than those who drink low to moderate amounts.
The new study found no significant difference in mortality between abstainers in good health and those who drank moderately, and counters recommendations to drink alcohol for wellness reasons.
The main message is that people should remember to reduce their drinking, (regardless) of whether they are high consumers or very low consumers.
“Our study is now one more mosaic stone in the evidence,” says John, “which is coming to show that what we believed for decades might not be true.”
Evidence suggests that other health behaviours — including a sedentary lifestyle, tobacco and substance use — have a dose-dependent relationship to mortality and health disorders: the greater the exposure, …….