Study: Moderate drinkers healthier because of lifestyle

Wine drinker - Foto (c) luis rock - used with permissionModerate drinkers are healthier than teetotalers, but alcohol has nothing to do with it. According to a French study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition moderate drinkers are more optimistic, less stressed and leaner than teetotalers. They studied 150,000 men and women. The researchers split the group into four categories: abstainers, moderate drinkers (less than 10 grams of alcohol per day), moderate drinkers (10 to 30 grams per day) and heavy drinkers (more than 30 grams per day). They asked them to fill out a questionnaire about their lifestyles and subjugated them to a series of tests. The better health of the group with moderate drinkers (one to two drinks per day) had nothing to do with the alcohol intake, but was caused by the healthier lifestyle of this group. Moderate drinkers had a healthier diet, exercised more and were less stressed than both teetotalers and heavy drinkers. The moderate drinkers also had more good ‘HDL’ cholesterol in their blood than other groups. The leader of the research team, Dr. Boris Hansel of the Pitié Hospital in Paris, writes that previous studies failed to take into account the fact that people who drink responsibly also have a better diet and lead healthier lifestyles. “Our findings suggest that it is not appropriate to promote alcohol consumption for cardiovascular protection,” said Dr. Hansel.

Relationship between alcohol intake, health and social status and cardiovascular risk factors in the urban Paris-Ile-De-France Cohort: is the cardioprotective action of alcohol a myth?

B Hansel, F Thomas, B Pannier, K Bean, A Kontush, M J Chapman, L Guize, E Bruckert

European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (19 May 2010) doi:10.1038/ejcn.2010.61