Does any alcohol intake increase heart disease and stroke risk?

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Does any alcohol intake increase heart disease and stroke risk?

Shawn Zylberberg writing for the Wine Spectator recently wrote about a study claiming, “All drinking increases heart disease risk” She shows us a newer study that argues, “Not so fast.”  So, what’s the truth? Should you have that glass of wine with dinner or not?

When researchers published a paper in the medical journal The Lancet claiming that any level of drinking could increase blood pressure or the risk of heart attack and stroke, it turned heads.

Now, researchers have taken a second look at the controversial study, finding that it could be off base.

Wine Spectator writes, “Two London-based professors recently took a deeper dive into those claims, and found that the Lancet study is based on ‘unsound methodology.'”

“In the new study, published in Oxford University Press’s International Journal of Epidemiology, (the researchers) write that they have uncovered a fundamental weakness in the 2019 analysis” which involves a research tool called a “J-shaped curve.

The bottom line is that when the new study used a sounder approach, they found, “An identical analysis of alcohol and myocardial infarction was inconclusive; a small benefit or hazard of alcohol could not be excluded.”

Frost says that further research into statistical methods and the Chinese data analyzed in the Lancet paper are needed. “Our work does not prove that moderate drinking is safe, only that the claims that it is harmful are based on unsound methodology.” He added, “We think that the scientific position on alcohol consumption and vascular disease is as it was before the publication of the 2019 Lancet paper,” he added.

If you drink alcohol, you may want to review the American Heart Association’s “Is drinking alcohol part of a healthy lifestyle?” Their bottom line? Moderation is key. The AHA writes, “If you don’t drink already, don’t start. If you do drink, talk with your doctor about the benefits and risks of consuming alcohol in moderation. Some people should not drink at all, like women who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant, people under age 21 and people with certain health conditions.”

What is moderate drinking? According to the CDC’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans, “Adults of legal drinking age can choose not to drink, or to drink in moderation by limiting intake to 2 drinks or less in a day for men and 1 drink or less in a day for women, when alcohol is consumed. Drinking less is better for health than drinking more.”

Mayo Clinic writes, “Examples of ‘one drink’ include:

  • Beer: 12 fluid ounces (355 milliliters)
  • Wine: 5 fluid ounces (148 milliliters)
  • Distilled spirits (80 proof): 1.5 fluid ounces (44 milliliters)

Again, the AHA says, “Drink alcoholic beverages only in moderation, if at all. Understand the potential effects on your health if you do indulge. And don’t start drinking for unproven health benefits.”


© Copyright WLL, INC. 2022. This blog provides healthcare tips and advice that you can trust about a wide variety of general health information only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from your regular physician. If you are concerned about your health, take what you learn from this blog and meet with your personal doctor to discuss your concerns.

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