Value of daily drink may be exaggerated

A study at University College London say past research on the health benefits of drinking alcohol may have been skewed. Instead, they suggest that a daily drink may benefit only women over 65.

The researchers say that studies that have lauded the value of a drink a day have compared moderate drinkers with people who don't drink. But usually, they have included in the latter group people who have never had a drink and people who stopped drinking in some point in their lives. Statistics show that people who used to drink, but no longer do, are usually less healthy and tend to die earlier than others. Also, people who never drank may have avoid alcohol because of health conditions that make them unhealthy. 

Including the above in the non-drinking groups for the purpose of making comparisons with moderate drinkers, tended to skew the the results, contend the University College researchers.

For their study, the team used survey data between 1994 and 2008, from over 45,000 UK adults over the age of 50. They initially found, like most other studies, that those who currently drink have a lower chance of early death than those who don’t drink. However, when they excluded the group of people that used to drink but don’t anymore, they only really saw benefits for women over 65. Benefits for men between 50 and 65 were minimal.

The researchers concluded that light consumption of alcohol regularly offers little to no health benefits to mortality risk, compared to just those who occasionally drink. The lead researcher  suggested that people should consider reducing the amount they currently drink, and true non-drinkers should stay that way.

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Sourced from: Reuters, A drink a day may not be good for everyone