Drinking a moderate amount of alcohol may be good for your health, a new study has found.
A new study from the University of Miami has shown that people who drink moderately are more likely to report above-average health than light drinkers, heavy drinkers and those who have never drank.
However, it is not clear whether moderate drinking leads to better health or whether moderate drinkers just have healthier lifestyles.
"Our results suggest that a moderate amount of drinking is not necessarily dangerous for most people and may actually be health-enhancing," said study coauthor Michael French, Ph.D.
Researchers looked at data from more than 31,000 adults from a U.S. Census Bureau survey. Participants answered questions about how much they drank, their health behaviors, and chronic health conditions. Moderate drinking was defined as four to 14 drinks a week for men and four to seven drinks a week for women.
Results show that men who drank moderately were 1.27-times more likely to report above-average health compared to lifetime abstainers and former light drinkers. And women who were moderate drinkers were more than twice as likely to report above-average health as those who abstained.
Researchers say the results may have something to do with the healthy lifestyles of moderate drinkers because people who exercise and eat healthy are perhaps the same people who drink moderately instead of heavily.
"By and large, the same people that work out and eat healthy are probably more likely to be moderate drinkers instead of heavier drinkers," Arthur Klatsky, M.D., a researcher and cardiology consultant at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program in Oakland, Calif., said.
The study proposes that the main health benefit of moderate drinking is that it can keep cardiovascular disease at bay, particularly hardening of the arteries and stroke caused by blood clots.
However, despite the benefits of moderate drinking, the authors warn about the dangers of heavy drinking and how bad it is for health.
"Heavy drinking by everybody's reckoning is bad business for health and social outcomes," Klatsky said.
The study is published in the July/August issue of the American Journal of Health Promotion.