Recently, articles have been popping up left and right, linking moderate alcohol consumption with a number of seriously great health benefits. These most often included reduced risk of heart problems and diabetes, and even an extended lifespan.
This of course, is what everyone would love to hear. However, now the studies that have made these claims in the first place are turning out to be unreliable, according to a research team's new meta-analysis.
The studies that linked moderate drinking with health benefits focused on comparing moderate drinkers with abstainers — people who do not drink any alcohol at all.
Tim Stockwell, a researcher behind this new meta-analysis, explained in his statement that the key issue behind these findings is how abstainers are defined in the previous studies.
The problem with this comparison is that the abstainer group included people who most likely didn’t drink due to health problems, or just poor health in general.
This causes a huge flaw in the study linking moderate drinking with health benefits. It creates the illusion that the moderate drinkers led healthier and longer lives than those who didn’t drink, when in reality the abstainers already had health problems of their own that were reflected the results of this study.
Another finding in the meta-analysis differed from the initial claims that alcohol offers any health benefits.
Moderate Alcohol Consumption May Not Offer Any Health Benefits After All; Claims May Be Based on 'Flawed' Science. Medical Daily. March 30, 2016.
That Cabernet Might Not Be Good For Your Health After All. NPR. March 30, 2016.
New Research Says You Should Think Twice About Booze's Health Affects. Refinery29. March 30, 2016.