No health benefit to alcohol?
Many of the studies on the health risks to drinking found the surprising result that mortality followed a J-shape curve. Heavy drinkers suffered badly. But moderate drinkers seemed to live longer than teetotalers.
We all lifted a glass to that pleasant result.
Alas, a study from Victoria’s Centre for Addictions Research throws cold water on all that past research. The authors claim that the studies finding a benefit to moderate drinking over abstaining wrongly lumped former drinkers with lifetime teetotalers:
The purpose of this study was to determine whether misclassifying former and occasional drinkers as abstainers and other potentially confounding study characteristics underlie observed positive health outcomes for low-volume drinkers. … After adjustment for abstainer biases and quality-related study characteristics, no significant reduction in mortality risk was observed for low-volume drinkers.
Still, they found no increase in mortality risk either. Which is a bit strange, when looking at a group that regularly consumes a known carcinogen, that also creates all sorts of social problems. If that doesn’t cause some increased risk of mortality, why not? I suspect we haven’t heard the last of this.
For now, I guess I’ll stop drinking for my health. And start drinking because I’m a sailor.