No, there is no beneficial effect on alcohol consumption

A review of studies concluded that there is no evidence that moderate consumption of different alcoholic beverages can be associated with positive health effects or a lower risk of disease.

A scientific review, published in the Spanish magazine of Public Health, concludes that there is no evidence that the consumption of different alcoholic beverages has a differential effect on the appearance and development of cardiometabolic, neurodegenerative diseases or cancer. That is, there is no evidence that “recommending” one or another alcoholic beverage can be associated with lower risk or health benefits. In addition, the article insists that the best recommendation is zero alcohol consumption.

As explained by Iñaki Galán, researcher at the National Center for Epidemiology of the Carlos III Health Institute and author of the work, there is a certain social tendency to believe that some types of alcoholic beverages could contribute, within the proven global negative effects that the consumption of alcohol, some beneficial effect (for example, sometimes cited wine polyphenols).

Galán asks for caution in the face of messages of moderate alcohol consumption. “The best thing, in matters of health safety, is do not consume it“, advises.” But, if people drink alcohol, the recommendation is not to exceed certain thresholds (not reaching 20 g / day in men and 10 in women). “The results indicate that it is not possible to recommend one or another alcoholic beverage to manage these thresholds or moderate consumption.

The study was carried out through a search through PubMed (between January 2000 and February 2019) of systematic reviews and meta-analyzes that reported quantitative results of the association between the consumption of different types of alcoholic beverages and health effects. The authors worked with 26 studies: 21 related to cancer, 3 to cardiometabolic diseases, 2 to neurodegenerative diseases and one to general mortality.

The research reveals that there is no positive consumption of alcohol for health and confirms that drinking one or another alcoholic beverage (wine, beer, spirits or combined) does not influence possible health outcomes or in the risk of illness or death.

The data were heterogeneous, hence the impossibility of extracting differential data between alcoholic beverages. Certain variables (methodological differences in estimating alcohol intake, controlling for confounding effects, and contrasting estimates between the type of beverages) made it very difficult to draw conclusions about possible unequal health effects.

For example, in general mortality and cardiometabolic diseases, although some data suggested that beer and spirits could have a greater negative effect than wine, the differences were not statistically significant.

Regarding cancer, in those types whose causal evidence with total alcohol consumption was totally consistent (oropharynx, colorectal and breast [mujeres]), the reviews also did not show a differentiated effect according to the types of alcoholic beverages. Regarding neurodegenerative diseases, the available information does not allow clear conclusions to be drawn either.

(Source: Agency)



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