No, there is no healthy dose of alcohol. The largest scientific review published to date on the relationship between health and alcohol consumption – which analyzes 40 years of research on the subject, 100 papers and data from 4.8 million patients – concludes that the methodology used in many previous studies was flawed and? the risk of countless health problems increases significantly with the alcoholic dose. The work was carried out by scientists at the Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research and was published last week freelance in the scientific journal JAMA Network.
In the case of women, the risk of premature death increases significantly when drinking more than 25 grams of alcohol per day, approximately two drinks, and, in the case of men, from 45 grams of alcohol/day, that is, about three drinks.
How does alcohol consumption affect health (measured as all-cause mortality)?
First of all, the effect of alcohol on our health depends on the amount of alcohol consumed. The amount of alcohol (ethanol) is measured in grams. In order to get more out of the study data, you can easily calculate the grams of alcohol you are drinking using this formula: multiply the l% of the volume of alcohol that appears in the bottle by the volume you drink, in deciliters (1 deciliter (dL)=100mL) and by 0.8 (by the density of ethanol (alcohol), which is less than that of water).
A 5 dL (500 mL) bottle of 6%vol beer has 6X5X0.8 = 24 grams of alcohol.
A 1.5 dL glass of 11% vol wine has: 11X1.5X0.8 = 13.2 grams of alcohol
A glass of 1 dL of Whiskey 30% vol has 30X1X0.8 = 24 grams of alcohol.
Starting from this consideration, the investigation draws several conclusions. The first, that drinking low-moderate amounts of alcohol- from 1.3 grams to less than 45 (<45) grams in men and from 1.30 to less than 25 (<25g) grams in women is NOT better for our health. not to drink anything. Second, that drinking low-moderate amounts of alcohol does NOT significantly increase the risk of dying compared to those who do not drink at all, and third, that drinking large amounts of alcohol significantly increases the risk of dying. The greater the amount of alcohol, the greater the risk.
In recent years it has been quite common for some doctors to claim that a “glass of wine” a day – specifically red wine – improved our cardiovascular health (especially in the case of mature people with cardiovascular problems). However, most of the studies in which this recommendation is supported were observational, which means that they could identify links or associations, but they could be misleading and did not prove cause and effect. The researchers from Canada noted that previous studies failed to recognize that moderate drinkers had many other healthy habits and advantages, and that teetotalers used as a comparison group often included former drinkers who had given up alcohol after developing health problems.
“When you compare this unhealthy group to those who continue to drink, it makes current drinkers appear healthier and have lower mortality,” said Tim Stockwell, a scientist at the Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research. When Stockwell and his colleagues corrected these and other errors, they pointed out that “the purported health benefits of drinking are drastically reduced and become statistically insignificant”. The comparison of moderate drinkers with non-drinkers was flawed for a number of reasons. People who abstain completely from alcohol are a minority, and those who are not abstainers for religious reasons are more likely to have chronic health problems, have a disability, or be low-income.
“People who drink in moderation tend to be moderate in every way. They tend to have more financial resources, are more likely to exercise and eat a healthy diet, and are less likely to be overweight. They even tend to have good oral hygiene,” the scientists said.
What you need to know if you choose to drink “in moderation”
According to this research, moderate drinkers do not have a statistically significant advantage in longevity compared to lifetime abstainers. Alcohol does not contribute anything good to health. At best, it won’t affect you negatively.
Still, it is important to remember that the alcohol is toxic for the body, especially acetaldehyde, which is formed from ethanol. In addition, it is a toxic can be addictive. Also that alcohol consumption is related to the risk of developing some types of cancer. A study conducted in New Zealand – and published in the Addiction Journal in September 2022 – found “strong evidence” that Alcohol causes seven types of cancer (oropharyngeal, larynx, esophageal, liver, colon, rectal, and breast cancer) and “probably others” such as pancreatic, prostate, and skin cancers. While men who drink more than four alcoholic drinks a day and women who drink more than three are most at risk, the assessment said that even moderate alcohol consumption puts people at risk.