Alcohol not so good for you after all

by Paul Lucas23 Mar 2016
Remember that theory that drinking small amounts of alcohol can have a positive impact on your health? Time to think again.

That’s because new research from the Centre for Addictions Research of British Columbia has looked again at the idea that alcohol can be good for us by examining long-term studies on alcohol and mortality. Its verdict is that the benefits of drinking have been overestimated – and indeed we may even be underestimating its dangers.

According to the authors of the report, previous studies have, perhaps inadvertently, included a bias.

“The apparent health benefit of low to moderate alcohol-use found in observational studies could in large part be due to various selection biases and competing risks, which are related to both lifetime alcohol use and risk of disease, usually occurring later in life,” they said.

Apparently many published studies included people whose poor health had prompted them to completely abstain from alcohol – which makes the life expectancy of those who do drink look comparatively good. When that bias is corrected, the report suggests, the risks for those who drink become much higher than previously indicated.

Published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, the findings, the authors suggest, do not show that drinking alcohol is “bad” – simply that the public should be a skeptical when it comes to the suggestion that drinking one or two glasses of wine a day can actually have a positive health impact.

What do you make of these findings? Leave a comment below with your thoughts.