British Medical Journal

Even Light Alcohol Consumption Not a Health Benefit

Several years ago a study came out stating that alcohol was good for your health. The studies showed that drinking in moderation could be good for your heart. However, a new study was conducted showing that this is not true. Alcohol is not good for your health. According to the new study, one drink a day that contains alcohol could increase the risk of heart disease.

The study looked at information taken from 260,000 people. The outcome of the study was that even those that do not consume much alcohol could cut their risk for heart disease by cutting down on the amount of alcohol they drink. “The best thing to do is to reduce consumption to reduce blood pressure and risk of heart disease” said Juan Casas, professor of epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and also the lead author of the study. Casas hopes that the study will influence policy makers now that they know that alcohol does not carry any health benefits. He explained that when people thought that there might be some healthy components to drinking in moderation it was hard to decide how much was too much. Now that the results are in and alcohol only does harm to people, policy makers can adjust laws accordingly.

The study looked at people that carried a variant of the alcohol dehydrogenase 1B gene. This gene causes unpleasant side effects when drinking; therefore these people tend to drink less. When researchers studied these people they found that they have a 10% lower risk of coronary heart disease, they have lower blood pressure and a lower body mass index.

Casas explained that previous studies, stating that consuming alcohol in moderate amounts was healthy for one’s heart, did not take into effect the lifestyle of those who didn’t consume alcohol. Casas points out that those who do not drink, or rarely drink, are more likely to participate in physical activity and lead generally healthier lives. Casas also said that the previous studies included those individuals who didn’t drink because of health reasons. That would falsely indicate that people who do not drink are unhealthy.

Lawmakers are currently reviewing the guidelines on how much to drink, they are taking this study into account.