Studies are significantly hailing the possible health advantages of moderate alcohol intake, especially when it relates to the heart and life expectancy. But new study indicates many of these researches are flawed and that such advantages may be largely overestimated.
Lead investigator Tim Stockwell and colleagues arrived at their conclusion by examining 87 researches that evaluated the effects of moderate drinking on longevity.
They recently presented their results in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.
With respect to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), over the previous month, about 24.6% of adults report engaging in binge drinking and about 6.8% report engaging in heavy drinking.
These kinds of drinking habits can raise the risk of alcohol use disorders, which impact about 16.6 million people and 697,000 adolescents in the US.
However, several studies have recommended that, in moderation, alcohol may be beneficial for us.
On the other hand, the new study from Stockwell and colleagues recommends the outcomes of such research should not be taken at face value, after discovering that many of them are subject to biases that, when accounted for, remove the reported health advantages of moderate drinking.
‘There are many factors to be skeptical’
From examining 87 researches that viewed at the effects of alcohol intake on death from all reasons, the team recognized a number of flaws in the way the studies were designed.
One major problem they identified was how the studies identified “abstainers” – individuals who do not drink alcohol.
The investigators describe that many of the research compared moderate drinkers – which they outline as people who take up to two alcoholic beverages everyday – with “current” abstainers, but these abstainers may consist of people of poor health who have halted drinking.
“A essential question is, who are these moderate consumers being compared against?,” states Stockwell.
In their study, the investigators identified that only 13 of the research they examined avoided biases in the abstainer group, and these research demonstrated no mortality advantages with moderate drinking.
In addition, when the investigators accounted for this bias and other flaws they recognized associated to study design, they identified that moderate drinkers no more showed any mortality advantages.
In addition, the investigators identified that it was “occasional” drinkers – described as individuals who take less than one alcoholic beverage a week – who had the greatest lifespan, and the team states that it is not likely that alcohol is the reason for this.
“Those people would be obtaining a biologically insignificant dose of alcohol,” notes Stockwell.
The team highlights that the study did not examine how particular kinds of alcohol – like as red wine, mostly hailed for its health advantages when taken in moderation – was connected with longevity, but Stockwell says it is doubtful any health advantages would be down to the alcohol itself.
Overall, the team considers their outcomes recommend research hailing the health advantages of moderate drinking must be viewed with caution. Stockwell states that:
“There’s a common idea out there that alcohol is beneficial for us, due to the fact that’s what you hear reported all the time. But there are many factors to be skeptical.”