Remember last week’s study on the safety level of drinking alcohol? The Lancet published study found that “the safest level of drinking is none.” Wasn’t that a buzzkill for many of us who enjoy a drink once in a while? Even the red wine was deemed as increasing cancer risk, outweighing the potential benefits for heart health.
But before throwing away all the alcohol, here’s what experts believe about this century’s incoming prohibition.
Population Data Cannot Be Applied to an Individual
A professor of orthopedic surgery, health policy and management at the University of Kansas Health System, Dr. Kim Templeton argues that the study analyzed population-based data and that the conclusion “reached that the optimal level of alcohol consumption is zero is based on population data, but it’s hard to extrapolate that to a given patient.”
Dr. Templeton explains that many other factors can contribute to a person’s risk of danger from consuming alcohol: age, overall health, family history and so on.
Alcohol can be harmful to some individuals, but it can be beneficial to others, shows a recent study published in the American Heart Association, Circulation. According to that study, moderate drinking could prolong a person’s life.
Another study published in the same journal shows that moderate alcohol consumption reduces the risk of heart disease, but Templeton concludes:
“Don’t start drinking just to decrease your cardiovascular risk, but if you’re an older woman with risk factors for cardiovascular disease, the occasional drink you have might reduce that risk.”
Furthermore, global data isn’t accurate when it comes to recommendations to a specific country.
Dr. Alexis Halpern, an emergency medicine physician at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, said that “we need to be more thoughtful about when we drink and how much we drink, and understand that there are health risks every time we drink.”
Dr. Tiffany Sizemore, a board-certified cardiologist, and medical advisor to the Distilled Spirits Council, Halpern, Templeton all agree that the best way to learn your risk of health problems from drinking is to consult your doctor. The doctor can take into account your lifestyle, family health history, and other risk factors, providing accurate guidance.
Sizemore concluded that almost everything is fine in moderation, and that the scare tactics from the Lancet study promote unrealistic recommendations.
Rex Austinwas born and raised in Thunder Bay Ontario on the shores of Lake Superior. Apart from running his own podcast (Ice Fishing And Other “Cool” Things), he spends his time canoeing and backpacking in Northern Ontario.. As a journalist Rex has published stories for Global News (Thunder Bay) we well as Buzz Feed and Joystiq. As a contributor to Great Lakes Ledger, Rex most covers science and health stories. Contact Rexhere