Health Experts Warn Against Recommending Moderate Alcohol Intake

Nikki Attkisson | Last Updated : November 10, 2021

Certain research had shown that abstaining from alcohol is harmful to a person’s health. But a recent study concludes that drinking alcohol,

Health Experts Warn Against Recommending Moderate Alcohol Intake

As per the estimates of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 89.6% of people in America aged 18 and older reported consuming alcohol or related beverage at least once in life. The agency also says that there are 45.5 million people aged 12 and above suffering from some form of alcohol use disorder. The condition is a person’s inability to control or stop consuming alcohol even after suffering its social, economic, and occupational dangers. Furthermore, more than 95000 Americans die every year due to alcohol-related incidents. As per these instances, alcohol is the third main cause of death in the country.

An older study suggests that alcohol if consumed in moderation, prolongs life. Another study showed that men who drink alcohol in moderation live longer than heavy and occasional drinkers.

Health Experts Warn Against Recommending Moderate Alcohol Intake

The latest study done in the field shows that the shorter life seen in men who completely avoid alcohol maybe because of other reasons. This goes against the old assumption that alcohol in moderation is beneficial for health.

According to experts, this is a problem that has plagued the country at large. Patients and students of medicine are advised; alcohol in moderation is good for your health.

Scientists believed for a long that those who consume alcohol in moderation live longer than those who don’t. This gave an apparently scientific excuse for alcoholics to continue with their unhealthy habits. But as time passed by, the limitations of such studies began to come to light. Thus scientists tried to find the risk factors that often led to shorter life expectancy among alcohol-abstainers in comparison to moderate drinkers.

As part of the research, a team of scientists analyzed the samples of 4,028 adults from Germany. They had taken part in the previous interview in this regard. The previous interview consisted of questions taken from a standardized alcohol use disorder test. The test was done in the time period of 1996-1997. Those who participated in the test were in the age range of 18-64 at the time.

During the interview, the participants had to answer a series of questions related to their alcohol consumption during the one year before the interview. Questions to assess the risky behaviors the participants may have had in early life came next. They included the following:

  • Early alcohol-dependence
  • High-risk behaviors related to drinking
  • Smoking

They also had to rank themselves based on their answers in the range poor-excellent.

The study discovered that 447 among them (11.1%) did not consume alcohol during the year prior to their interview. Among them, 405 (90.6%) were drinkers. 322 (72.04%) were involved in at least one high-risk behavior included in the list. Among the 322 people with one or more high-risk behaviors, 114 (35.4%) had experienced alcohol use disorder. Furthermore, 161 (50%) among those did not consume alcohol. But they had the habit of smoking.

The team also managed to gather information on whether anyone among them died 20 years after their interview. They discovered that 119 (26.6%) among them who did not consume alcohol died 20 years after their interview. They also noticed that 248 (11.26%) among the participants who ranked themselves low due to moderate alcohol consumption too died within 20 years of their interview.

The team, however, noticed that those who abstained from alcohol for the one year prior to the interview, who did not have any other high-risk behavior lived longer. They even observed that smoking and alcohol consumption had a close connection. They concluded that smoking prompts a person to consume alcohol.

This leads to the conclusion; abstinence from alcohol in itself does not shorten life.

Nikki Attkisson

With over 15 years as a practicing journalist, Nikki Attkisson found herself at Powdersville Post now after working at several other publications. She is an award-winning journalist with an entrepreneurial spirit and worked as a journalist covering technology, innovation, environmental issues, politics, health etc. Nikki Attkisson has also worked on product development, content strategy, and editorial management for numerous media companies. She began her career at local news stations and worked as a reporter in national newspapers.

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