We’ve reported, in the past, on various studies that either decry the use of alcohol as ruinous or celebrate it as an aid to health. Until recently, the balance has been in favour of benefits. Now, a major British study evens the score, saying it found no clear indications of benefits from drinking booze…
The pendulum swings back…
The pendulum swings back and forth on this one regularly. After a series of learned studies that concluded alcohol consumption – Red Wine in particular – is good for you in any number of ways, a new, exhaustive study recently published in The British Medical Journal (BMJ) says the bad may outweigh the good, after all.
A group of physicians examined data from the Health Survey for England over a ten year period and found that ‘benefits’ from alcohol consumption reported previously may be the result of errors in previous study methodology or statistical calculations.
Among the stage-setting statements in the study is the assertion that:
High alcohol consumption has been negatively associated with more than 200 acute and chronic conditions, with direct healthcare costs estimated to account for £2.7bn ($4.1bn; €3.6bn) of annual National Health Service expenditure in England in 2006-07, and £3.5bn by 2011-12—around 3% of the annual healthcare budget. Inclusive of social costs such as losses to labour productivity, estimates increase approximately 10-fold to between £20bn and £55bn per annum.
Well, you can’t deny that there’s a problem, there.
Going on, the study says it looked at ‘all cause mortality’ over all age, sex and demographic groups and concluded, basically, that that glass of Red Wine you’ve been telling yourself is good for you may do nothing beneficial at all. On the other hand, moderate alcohol consumption remains mostly harmless for most of us. Pregnant and nursing women excepted, of course.
The good news from the study, if there is any, is that the researchers did find some significant benefits to drinking moderately for women over the age of 65. Something to look forward to for half the population, anyway!
Drink responsibly. Eat smart. Be healthy. But don’t sacrifice your joy in food and drink on the alter of perfection.
Or, as Julia Child famously said: ‘Moderation in all things, including moderation!”
~ Maggie J.