Previous studies have established that regular consumption of up to two drinks per day can help reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Some studies argue that it lowers the risk of contracting some type of cancers.
However a collaborative study conducted by researchers at the University of Victoria and University of California San Francisco analyzed the results of 54 related studies. It was then evident that only 7 studies had actually differentiated from those who abstain from the drinking choice and those who had quit drinking on account of health problems. This highlights that the results of the other studies may not be dependable as it represents biased research.
The results of such biased studies show that abstainers have a higher death rate compared to those who indulge in moderate drinking. This beneficial effect might however be due to the poor health status of the abstainers who had recently stopped drinking due to health concerns. Therefore, it would not be appropriate to say that alcohol is good for health.
Surprisingly, no beneficial effect of alcohol consumption with respect to heart disease between drinkers and non-drinkers was noted in the 7 un-biased studies.
'The widely held belief that light or moderate drinking protects against coronary heart disease has had great influence on alcohol policy and clinical advice of doctors to their patients throughout the world. These findings suggest that caution should be exerted in recommending light drinking to abstainers because of the possibility that this result may be more apparent than real,' said Tim Stockwell, Center for Addictions Research, University of Victoria.
Different reasons such as deterioration in general health status; use of drugs, disability and frailty may be responsible for people to quit the drinking habit. The researchers have therefore highlighted the need for more alcohol-based studies to take into consideration an individuals reason for not drinking.