Headline of the Week: Heavy Drinking Is Good For the Heart (Um, Right)

We're all familiar with the notion that a regular glass of red wine may help protect our tickers, but a controversial new study has concluded that drinking alcohol of any kind every day could be beneficial.

The findings were published this week in the journal Heart.

Based on lifestyle feedback over a ten-year period from 41,000 people aged 29 to 69, researchers found that moderate drinkers (who consume between 5g and 30g of alcohol a day) could cut their risk of coronary heart disease by 51 per cent, high drinkers (between 30g and 90g) by 54 per cent and very high drinkers (more than 90g) by 50 per cent.

But before you crack open that third bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau, you need to delve a little deeper into the facts.

1. The effects were only seen in men, not women.

2. The study was carried out in Spain, where knocking back a shot of whisky with your coffee at breakfast is considered normal.

3. Numerous other problems have been associated with high alcohol intake, not least weight gain, dementia, cirrhosis and cardiomyopathy.

Indeed, health professionals were quick to point out the study's shortcomings. Robert Sutton, professor of surgery at the University of Liverpool, claimed it had "several flaws" and that it should not be taken to suggest that high alcohol consumption can improve health.

He went on to say that the finding that there was no relationship between alcohol and heart disease in women was "highly unusual" and suggested the need for more research.

Thank you, Dr Sutton. Now where can I sign up?


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