NEW STUDY: Bad news even for “light” alcohol drinkers
(NaturalHealth365) In acknowledging the potential health problems associated with drinking, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encourages adults to limit their alcohol intake – up to 2 drinks per day for men and up to 1 drink per day for women. Reminding readers that “drinking less is better for health than drinking more,” the CDC also encourages adults simply to choose not to drink, and not to “start drinking for any reason” if they are currently non-drinkers.
Of course, the headlines have battled for years over the apparent benefits of drinking alcohol – it’s good for you, it’s not good for you. Now, a recent study offers evidence that even light drinking might be bad for your heart health.
Wishful thinking? Why even light drinking might not be as good for you as you’d hope
Titled “Alcohol – The myth of cardiovascular protection,” the new study was published in February 2022 in the peer-reviewed journal Clinical Nutrition. The study co-authors, who hail from the United Kingdom, assessed UK Biobank data from more than 350,000 people between the ages of 40 and 69, including 333,259 of whom drank alcohol.
The authors specifically looked at hospitalizations related to cardiovascular events among the entire 350,000+ cohort. What they found was that even people who drank less than the maximal weekly limit recommended by the UK’s Chief Medical Officers had a 23% increased chance of suffering a cardiovascular event for every 1.5 additional pints of 4% alcohol by volume beer they consumed. In other words, light drinking even appears capable of causing damage to heart health.
How is it, then, that other studies suggest drinking moderately is good for you? The authors point to “[b]iases embedded in epidemiological evidence,” such as the tendency to use non-drinkers as a reference group even though many people don’t drink because of existing poor health. These biases reportedly “mask or underestimate the hazards associated with alcohol consumption.”
“When these biases are accounted for,” the authors continue, “the adverse effects of even low-level alcohol consumption are revealed,” specifically to heart health.
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Another fallout of the pandemic mess: Disordered drinking on the rise, especially among this group of people
It might not be an “excuse,” but it’s not exactly a surprise either. Research from the past two years reveals that the rate of alcohol consumption has increased significantly among Americans during the course of the so-called novel coronavirus pandemic.
A September 2020 study published in JAMA Network Open found that nearly 1 in 10 women reported increased alcohol-related problems in the first year of the pandemic, independent of their consumption level. We can take this to mean that even if these women weren’t consuming “a lot” by conventional standards, they were still experiencing personal issues related to their drinking.
As it is, the majority of adults who drink (2 in 3) already report drinking above moderate levels at least once a month, according to the CDC.
A reminder to you or anyone you love who chooses to consume alcoholic beverages: it’s quite possible to consume far more than just one or two drinks per day without realizing it unless you measure your beverages carefully!
According to the CDC, one “drink” is equivalent to 14 grams of pure alcohol, which you can find in:
- 12 ounces of regular beer (5% alcohol)
- 5 ounces of wine (12% alcohol)
- 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits (40% alcohol)
Keep this in mind the next time you fix yourself a glass of red wine with dinner and do your best to avoid a heavy pour – if you choose to pour at all.
Editor’s note: Discover natural ways to protect and repair your heart … click here to get access to the Cardiovascular Docu-Class, hosted by yours truly Jonathan Landsman.
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