Bad news casual drinkers. A new study found no connection between heart health and moderate consumption of alcohol.
Over the years, alcohol consumption has been linked with a variety of behaviors. While consuming it in large amounts has mostly resulted in negative outcomes, consuming it with discretion has been linked with health benefits, among them heart health, diabetes, and more. But a new study thinks otherwise, at least when it comes to cardiovascular health.
The study, conducted by researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard, and MIT, analyzed the data of over 300,000 adults and concluded that all forms of alcohol intake were linked with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. Researchers also believe that the benefits of alcohol demonstrated in previous studies were likely due to other lifestyle factors and not alcohol itself.
According to the data, which was obtained through UK Biobank, light to moderate drinkers had the least risk of heart disease, even more than those who abstained from drinking at all. On a deeper look, researchers discovered that light to moderate drinkers made better lifestyle choices than those who abstained, eating more vegetables, working out more often, and more.
Researchers also used new techniques to gauge whether light alcohol consumption caused some form of cardiovascular protection. “The findings affirm that alcohol intake should not be recommended to improve cardiovascular health; rather, that reducing alcohol intake will likely reduce cardiovascular risk in all individuals, albeit to different extents based on one’s current level of consumption,” said lead study author Krishna G. Aragam, MD, MS.
While alcohol can be associated with a variety of benefits, it seems likely that heart health is not one of them.