Oh, You Poor Red Wine Drinkers

Now this is going to make a lot of people really unhappy (unless you're over 50).

But a new study has found that the benefits of red wine as they pertain to a longer life have been severely overstated, according to yahoo.com/health.

Researchers analyzed data on the drinking habits of over 52,000 adults who were interviewed about their average weekly alcohol consumption, as well as how much they drank in one day. They found “little to no” health benefits of drinking alcohol, regardless of how much or little someone drank.  Any protective benefits of alcohol seemed limited to men between ages 50 and 64, and women age 65 and over.

But don't despair!  Former drinkers — some of whom were once heavy drinkers — were lumped in with people who had never been drinkers and labeled as “non-drinkers,” which could affect the results.

 “There’s still much more work to be done on isolating the true effect of alcohol consumption on health,” study researcher Craig Knott tells Yahoo Health.

You don’t need to give up your favorite pinot noir just yet, says Pamela W. Smith, MD, a Detroit-area physician who specializes in metabolic medicine. “Having a drink is not the worst thing in the world,” she tells Yahoo Health. “Of course, if someone is having six drinks a day, that’s a problem, but it really is all about moderation.”

While moderate drinking isn’t as healthy as eating an apple a day, Smith tells Yahoo Health that drinking alcohol can indirectly boost health. Having one drink a day can help lower stress levels, which in turn can keep cholesterol, blood pressure, and overall health in check, she says, according to Yahoo Health.

But another not-so-great factor to keep in mind: 3.5% of cancer deaths yearly are related to alcohol. That's 20,000 people.

Research hasn’t really shown if beer, wine, or hard alcohol is better, Smith says: “Wine has resveratrol in it, which is a good antioxidant, but really, overall, if the person is using the alcohol to relax a little bit, having beer, wine, or some sort of hard liquor in moderation is not an issue.”

Smith and others agree that non-drinkers shouldn’t suddenly take up the habit for its health benefits. But yes, it is possible to be healthy and still have a few drinks a week, they say.


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