Allegrini 2018

Surprise: moderate alcohol consumers prove to be even the longest-lived

A study by the Universities of Columbia and Boston questions the most radical vulgates: zero alcohol does not guarantee a better health
Alcoholic consumption, Mortality rate, News
Moderate alcohol consumption ensures longevity

Surprise: the mortality rate among moderate alcohol users is lower than for teetotalers and for those who, on the contrary, abuse alcohol. It is the result, which decisively clashes with a historical moment in which health and body care are practically a universal mantra, of the study “Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research”, which examined the health data of almost 8,000 people resident in the United States over a period of 16 years, analyzed by a team of researchers from the University of Columbia and the University of Boston. After the recent vulgate according to which there are no levels of safe consumption, due to the carcinogenicity of alcohol, the study brings the clock a few years back, when moderate consumption and health were related, calling into question whether or not the carcinogenicity of alcohol, at least its actual harmfulness, which would depend on the amount of alcohol consumed.
What researchers are essentially asking is whether it is valid, for alcoholic beverages, what has already been demonstrated with coffee, which has beneficial effects in small daily doses but which can be harmful to health if it is abused, but regardless of the types of alcohol (fermented as wine, beer or cider or distilled as whiskey, vodka and spirits), which have not been segmented by researchers. The study is based on the analysis of data from the Health and Pension Study carried out in the United States for years by the National Institute for Ageing and the Social Security Administration, which involved 20,000 participants. The researchers, thus, focused on 7.904 cases of people born between 1931 and 1941, with data on their alcohol consumption and their health over a period of 16 years, dividing them into five categories: occasional drinkers (1 or 2 units per month); moderate consumers (1 or 2 units per day for women and 1 to 3 units per day for men); abusing drinkers (more than 3 units per day for men and more than 2 units per day for women); teetotalers since ever (never consumed alcohol in a lifetime); currently teetotalers (in the past were consumers).
The same researchers referred to a unit as a glass of wine or a “shot” of distillate, and the analysis included factors such as socio-economic level, smoking, body mass index, and in general all those aspects that may affect the mortality index.
The results obtained have thus shown themselves in all their originality. First of all, the teetotalers of both categories show the highest mortality rate, both among men and women, higher than that of occasional drinkers and even, to the great surprise of researchers, of heavy drinkers. The lowest mortality rate, however, among both men and women, as mentioned, is among moderate consumers, unequivocally the longest-lived. Research has therefore shown that smokers and obese people, regardless of the level of alcohol consumption, have a higher-than-average mortality rate. One of the most important conclusions of the study’s lead author, Dr. Katherine Keyes, of the University of Columbia, is that moderate consumers who have quit smoking for some health reasons will, in the long run, prove to be the longest-lived.

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