Moderate Wine Drinking May Be Healthier At Least In Italy:
There seems to be a new study out every 3 months telling you the opposite of the last.
Recently, we all heard of one that suggests no amount of alcohol is safe.
This seemed to be an over-reaction typical of WHO or EU health-authorities.
So after a recent study hit the skids over some conflicts, a new team with one of those Harvard docs tried again with better data…
A Tough Story To Tell Gets Another Shot:
In a strange collaboration between the head of the study that was cancelled because of conflict-of-interest,
Harvard Medical School, and IRCCS NeuroMed out of Italy,
Researchers looked into long-term alcohol use data from the best sources they could.
And The Short Answer Is: Yes. Somehow moderate alcohol-intake of about 1 glass of (probably red) wine a day was associated with better health outcomes and significantly fewer visits to the hospital.
Read on to find out the rest of the details.
Diet Studies Are Nearly-Impossible, Even For Moderate-Drinking’s Benefits:
So one of the big problems with the study that Dr. Ken Mukamal tried to run was that any study on dietary-intake is hard.
People don’t want to eat, -or Drink, what they’re told to.
He needed to find stuff that the subjects Would drink.
That led to seeking funding from Big Alcohol, which crashed the project over potential contamination of the data.
Why would big companies pay for a study that would ultimately outlaw their product, right?
The Moli-Sani Project To The Rescue!:
So Dr. Ken and his colleague Simona Constanzo needed a better source of data to test for what’s likely more of a meta-analysis than just a pure study on one thing.
Well, they got it in Italy’s 2005 Moli-Sani Project.
Over the course of 6 years, about 21,000 individuals were followed for health-outcomes and surveyed on their basic nutrition habits.
The most interesting parts of that data tend to reinforce other studies.
Moderate drinkers who had Up To 1 Drink/Day were hospitalized less-often than heavy-drinkers.
Still more-surprising was that for some reason, they also went to the hospital less than the people who didn’t drink at-all.
This data encompassed 3 types: All-Cause, Cardiovascular, and Cancer
The Heavy-Drinkers Have It Bad:
Now, despite the fact that Dr. Ken cautions against Stanton Peele’s advice, that people who don’t drink shouldn’t go start.
There is also some really bad news. -That is, in-addition to the fact that Abstainers had 14% more reported cardiovascular issues.
Heavy drinkers who had 4 Or More Drinks/Day were admitted to the hospital more,
They had 74% higher-rates of directly alcohol-related diseases.
And 36% higher rates of Cancer.
The heavy-drinkers who Smoked were even worse-off.
Sticking To Only One Drink Can Be Difficult:
And that brings us to a point that other studies on alcohol-caution have tried to underline.
The increasing power of Habit and also disinhibition.
For example, some people who would not otherwise smoke or have quit, might go for the odd cigarette after a few drinks,
Because why not? -It heightens the buzz, right?
Well the same thing can happen with that “Just One Drink”.
Before you know it, you’re socializing with alcohol, going back and forth with each other,
And one drink has turned into 5 or more.
One Drink Can Become 5:
Now you’re in-trouble, because that’s just the type of drinking that really overdoes it even for your guts, your liver, and endotoxins.
So that’s probably why Dr. Ken is careful about recommendations. It may be difficult to stop at just one drink.
But if you can control yourself,
21,000 people in Italy are all evidence that 1 glass of wine a day might not be so bad.
Especially in-combination with the Mediterranean Diet they ate; which may also be key.
Full-Disclosure, There May Be Some Mild, But Hard-To-Exert, Influence:
Apparently, Dr. Costanzo and Dr. Di Castelnuovo are supported by a grant from the European Foundation for Alcohol Research.
And Dr. de Gaetano is a member of the International Scientific Forum on Alcohol Research, a consultant to the Italian Association of the Beer and Malt Industries, and a member of the Accademia Italiana della Vite e del Vino.
That being said, it would seem difficult to skew the results over that large a population.
Potential Influence Or Not, This Much Hospital Data Is Hard To Skew:
As this and more than 1 study has shown,
Alcohol in actual-moderation have the oddly-protective effects that Stanton Peele and others talk about.
Remember also, that the rate of any cardiovascular problem was elevated in the non-drinking group.
The results state clearly that this group was made up of alcoholics who said they had to quit,
But also people who had never had a drink at-all.
21,000 Samples Is Suggestive:
So strictly-speaking, the stats may only be Suggestive instead of pure-gospel.
But the lifelong tea-totaler part is a head-scratcher for people who want to go against the results.
Either way, 21,000 samples, with 13,000 hospitalizations, over 6 years is still pretty convincing.
So maybe One, and Only One, glass of wine a day as a light-moderate drinker may just keep you healthy somehow…
Photo Credits: “Welcome drink christmas party”, by Erdenebayar Bayansan
• Source Study: Addiction – Alcohol consumption and hospitalization burden in an adult Italian population: prospective results from the Moli‐sani study
• More Coverage: HarvardMed – Alcohol: Balancing Risks and Benefits | Wired – Study on Booze Brought to You by Big Alcohol