Dr. Weil on Drinking
New Thinking About Drinking
For years we've been told that moderate drinking - one to three drinks per day - is associated with good health and longer life, but a new investigation raises some doubts about that. An international team of researchers analyzed 87 studies to examine the relationship between drinking alcohol and death from any cause and concluded that while moderate drinking was associated with longer life, alcohol consumption isn't responsible. They pointed out that moderate drinkers are more likely to be affluent, well educated and, as a result, reasonably healthy. As a result, they tend to experience less heart disease, cancer and injury and live longer than others. In their analysis, the research team noted that some non-drinkers may simply have an aversion to alcohol, while others may have quit drinking for health reasons. Most investigations don't distinguish between these two groups. When the researchers separated them, factored in socioeconomic class, and re-evaluated the data, they found no survival advantage for moderate drinkers over non-drinkers. All told, the review concluded that people who lived the longest, healthiest lives averaged only one drink every 10 days, suggesting they were doing something right but their drinking habits probably play no role. Heavy drinkers are another story - in study after study, their lives are the shortest.