U.S. Government: Moderate Drinking Benefits Health
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) has completed an extensive review of current scientific knowledge about the health effects of moderate alcohol consumption. It found that the lowest death rate from all causes occurs at the level of one to two drinks per day. That is, moderate drinkers have the greatest longevity.
The NIAAA’s conclusion that moderate drinking is beneficial to heart health will be included in the next revision of the dietary guidelines to be issued by the government.
Drinking alcohol may slightly increase the risk of breast cancer. However, Dr. Lorraine Gunzerath of NIAAA emphasizes that women should weigh the small increase in breast cancer risk (one percentage point) against the sharp decrease in heart disease risk (40%) resulting from moderate drinking. Also important is the fact that about 4% of American women die of breast cancer while about 50% die of heart disease.
The scientific medical research did not find that moderate drinking leads to weight gain or to obesity, although alcohol contains calories.
- Highlights of the NIAAA position paper on moderate alcohol consumption. Press release from the journal, Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, 6-14-04; Berman, Jessica. Moderate alcohol consumption benefits heart, U.S. government says. Voice of America News, 6-16-04.
filed under: Longevity