Bad, good. Good, bad. Good in moderation. Bad one sip past moderation. This barely breaches the surface of all the recommendations and results scientists have made regarding alcohol. For decades upon decades, scientists have been busy trying to prove either the ill effects or beneficial effects of wine, beer and spirits. Sometimes it is positive, other times negative.
For a long time, we?ve heard generally that one drink for women and two drinks for men a day is reasonably healthy enough not to worry about. We know that red wine is the healthiest elixir, and that beer also carries some benefit. But, alas, other studies have shown that drinking is not so great no matter how you spin it.
West Coast researchers at UCLA found that, in certain circumstances, if an older man has as few as two drinks a week, it can increase his risk of death. That can be considered some shocking news, and certainly some that runs against previous studies that say moderate drinking is a healthy habit. The study in question used data from the early 1970s on adults 60 or older, and followed up with new data from 1992.
They discovered that older men in two general circumstances could be harmed by moderate drinking. One: if they had a disease that could be made worse by alcohol, such as ulcers or gouty arthritis. Two: if they took prescription drugs that can react with alcohol, such as analgesics or sedatives. For those men who fell into these broad categories, the risk of death was 20% higher than men who drank less alcohol or who drank the same amount but didn’t have these health conditions.
This study highlights one area that doesn’t, surprisingly, get touched upon very often. Most studies on alcohol proof that moderate drinking could help your heart’s health and actually prolong life. But few consider alcohol’s effect on health conditions that people have. The UCLA study lends some mathematical evidence that, while moderate alcohol is fine for some people, for the tens of millions of older adults who have an existing health problem, or take medications for sleep, joint pain, depression, or a stomach problem, moderate drinking can make things much worse.
This is coupled with another study that has arisen of late that also questions whether light drinking is as healthy as it seems — it suggested that studies that found beneficial results, from all over the world, may be flawed and thus their results not as accurate as they seem.