A wine a day won’t kill you, experts now claim in a fresh twist on decades-long argument over health risks of moderate drinking
- Women may be able to enjoy wine daily without the risk of dying early
- And men may be able to drink nearly two large glasses of wine a day
Enjoying a drink in moderation may not significantly increase your risk of an early death, a study suggests.
On average, women can enjoy a large glass of wine a day without significantly increasing their risk of premature death, according to a new study by researchers in Canada.
Men can drink an average of nearly two large glasses of wine a day without a higher risk of death than non-drinkers.
The findings come from a review of 107 studies, including more than 4.8 million people.
However, the review’s authors say the included studies have multiple flaws, and they would still advise that moderate amounts of alcohol carry small risks for serious diseases such as cancer.
On average, women can enjoy a large glass of wine a day without significantly increasing their risk of dying early, according to a new scientific study
Researchers compared the risk of death among non-drinkers in the studies with the risk of death for drinkers with low, moderate, high or very high alcohol consumption.
Women who drank moderately and belonged to the low alcohol consumption group did not appear to significantly increase their risk of death compared to female non-drinkers.
These women drank less than 25 grams of alcohol a day – about three units in the UK, equivalent to one large glass of wine or three small measures of gin.
Men were not significantly more likely to die than non-drinkers when they drank low or moderate amounts.
This included men drinking less than 45 grams of alcohol a day – about five-and-a-half glasses a day in the UK, which equates to about three 330ml bottles of lager a day, or not too far from two large glasses of wine .
However, the researchers say the results should not be used for safe drinking guidelines because of the study’s flaws.
In 86 of the studies reviewed, non-drinkers included former drinkers, who may have stopped drinking because it had already led to health problems, which is likely to have biased the results.
Drinkers may also mistakenly appear to be just as healthy as non-drinkers, because some of those non-drinkers are in fact unwell and therefore do not consume alcohol.
The review, published in the journal JAMA Network Open, found that the risk of early death increased significantly after a certain alcohol threshold, which was lower for women than for men.
For men who drink 45 to 64 grams of alcohol, which equates to up to eight units per day, or four pints of low-strength beer, the risk of early death was found to be 15 percent higher than for non-drinkers.
The risk of early death was 21 percent higher for women who drank 25 to 44 grams of alcohol per day, equivalent to more than one large glass of wine.
Study co-author Dr. Tim Stockwell, former director of the Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research, said: ‘This review was designed to look at flaws in studies and how they bias estimates of alcohol’s health risks.
“For example, more than 80 percent of the studies in the review counted people who quit alcohol because of ill health as teetotalers.
Compensating for these types of errors significantly reduced the appearance of health benefits from moderate drinking.
“Stronger studies are needed to determine the exact levels of drinking at which men and women are at increased risk of premature death.”