Alcohol “benefits” may be too good to be true

You may have been comforted by the recent headlines  that moderate drinking is good for your health and will prolong your life, but a  recent study is saying otherwise.

The new study published in a leading medical journal argues that alcohol has no health benefits and that claims of a glass of wine being good for the heart have been exaggerated.

Researchers at University College London (UCL) argue that studies suggesting moderate drinkers are healthier have relied on flawed comparisons with people who have given up alcohol, often because they are already sick.

Similarly, British and Australian researchers have found that after examining some of the studies used to back these findings, the results are likely to have been skewed by a flaw in the study design.

With high alcohol consumption has been linked to more than 200 diseases and chronic conditions, health and research professionals  urge the public to drink alcohol with caution and treat  health benefit claims of alcohol with caution.

Commenting on the study in the BMJ, Professor of Public Health Policy at Curtin University, Mike Daube said the apparent benefits of alcohol were evaporating.

“In health, as elsewhere, if something looks too good to be true, it should be treated with great caution,” he wrote.

Tim Chico, a reader in cardiovascular medicine at the University of Sheffield, said “The negative effects of alcohol are obvious, cause huge drains on the health system and clearly outweigh any possible benefits.”

Professor Daube added that the alcohol industry and the alcohol organisations which have spruiked these studies should remove misleading references to health benefits from their information materials.

“Globally, more than three million deaths each year are attributable to alcohol. The real mortality benefits will come from determined action at the political level, not outdated advice and wishful thinking.”

 

Read more: 

The Australian – Alcohol ‘has no health benefits’ and previous research flawed, study finds 

The Age – Alcohol benefits might be too good to be true