New alcohol consumption guidelines
Q: It’s now being reported that there’s no amount of alcohol consumption that’s good for you. I thought it was good for the heart to have one or two glasses of wine a day. What’s the story? — Tyler K., New Orleans
A: For years, we docs have said that one alcoholic drink for women and one or two for men is an acceptable daily health risk because alcohol has cardiovascular benefits, even though it also increases the risk of cancer (for example, drinking anything alcoholic ups breast cancer risk for women). But now, new research from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found that drinking that amount may increase a person’s risk of premature death by 20 per cent.
The researchers analyzed data from more than 400,000 people and found that even when folks had slight improvements in cardiovascular health, their risk of other health-related problems, such as cancer, outweighed the benefits. That study came on the heels of research published in The Lancet that reviewed data from more than 700 studies and concluded there’s no amount of alcohol that’s good for you.
However, these were self-reported observational studies and all observational studies can be skewed when people misreport how much they drink and their health info and habits, whether intentionally or not. That said, we docs are continuing our regular, low consumption.
But before you decide whether to keep drinking or not — it is an individual choice — check out Go Sober For October, a fundraising effort in the U.K. that attracted more than 66,800 SoberHeros and raised almost US$1.9 million for the registered charity MacMillan Cancer Support.
It encourages folks to give up alcohol for one month, and discover the benefits.
One SoberHero, Kathy, who quit for the month said: “After the four weeks, I felt like a different person. I don’t drink hardly anything anymore. I feel absolutely amazing. I feel revitalized.”
So maybe you want to start your own Sober Drive and raise money for a charity you feel strongly about. Cheers!
Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. Email your health and wellness questions to Dr. Oz and Dr. Roizen at firstname.lastname@example.org.