Well this isn’t a way to start off Friday. You know those suggestions about drinking a glass of wine for heart health? A new, international study is moving to debunk the notion that light to moderate drinking is good for the heart.

A team out of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia has concluded reducing consumption of alcohol across all levels is beneficial to heart health. 155 researchers took part in the study in North America, UK, Europe and Australia. Pooling studies covering drinking habits and heart health, the researchers had data covering 260,000 people.

Looking at the variety of studies, scientists were able to conclude that if you drank 17% less alcohol, you were less likely to binge drink. That seems like a no-brainer. If you drink less, why would you all the sudden start doing keg stands? Also, people who drank less were more likely to eventually abstain from alcohol.

The benefits from less drinking? A 10% reduction in your risk for coronary heart disease, a lower body mass index and lower blood pressure. Evidently taking a drink doesn’t take the edge off.

One of the lead authors, Michael Holmes, talked about the disconnect between what we have been told and the new study. “Contrary to what earlier reports have shown, it now appears that any exposure to alcohol has a negative impact upon heart health. However, what we’re seeing with this new study, which uses an investigative approach similar to a randomized clinical trial, is that reduced consumption of alcohol, even for light-to-moderate drinkers, may lead to improved cardiovascular health.”

The focus of this study was on carriers of a particular gene dubbed “alcohol dehydrogenase 1B”. If you are a carrier, alcohol breaks down faster which leads to normal alcohol consumption symptoms. This includes face-flushing, nausea and others. People who have this gene are more likely to reduce their alcohol intake over time.

It is definitely one way to keep people from drinking. Make it break down so fast you feel terrible. Researchers used the marker for lower alcohol consumption, and subsequently found the health benefits.

So, does that mean you have to forego the glass of wine tonight? If you’re a health nut with Instagram pictures of fitness memes, then maybe. If you realize now that everything good is destined to kill you somehow, then just top off the glass tonight. Fatalism Friday.


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