A glass of wine a day keeps the doctor away. Sound familiar? It used to be an apple a day, but as studies have shown that drinking alcohol every day might actually improve your health, this new saying made its way into our kitchens and our wine glasses. Here’s some disheartening breaking news: If you’re using this saying as a life motto and an excuse for that glass of wine at dinner every night, you should definitely keep reading.
It’s a widely accepted theory that drinking a glass of wine every day can help overall health and life expectancy. This has been shown by multiple studies, but it turns out that it might not be so truthful after all.
What’s Been Said
Past studies have shown that red wine might improve cardiovascular health and have many other health benefits. Studies also claim that people who drink one to two alcoholic drinks per day live longer on average than people who abstain from alcohol. However, new studies are saying that the people who conducted the previous research didn’t do so great of a job. Maybe they were drinking a little too much wine.
Tim Stockwell, a professor at University of Victoria in Canada and the leader of this new revelation, reviewed 87 previous studies of the correlation between alcohol and life expectancy and found very important information that takes away the credibility of these studies.
It was uncovered that in the past studies, the reason for abstinence was never controlled. This means that the abstinence group included people who stopped drinking for other health reasons, making their health level already lower than average.
Stockwell explained this by saying, “Giving up drinking is a sign of ill health, not a cause of it. So if these people are put in the abstainer comparison group, they make that group look unhealthy and make the moderate drinkers look healthier in comparison.”
How to Fix It
To be a reliable study, the abstinent group should be only people who have never drank alcohol and weren’t doing so for medical reasons.
When this type of group was controlled, the difference in life expectancy between abstainers and moderate drinkers drastically decreased and showed there might actually not be a correlation.
It was also found that out of the 87 studies, 81 of them were considered “ow quality because they didn’t control other factors, such as demographics and smoking vs. nonsmoking participants. Controlling for these factors would ensure a much more reliable and trustworthy study.
The idea that a drink a day could positively affect health has become so widely accepted that even doctors tell their patients to follow that rule. Stockwell’s findings challenge this entire idea and call for a new look at these studies.
So after all of this old and new research, it was concluded that maybe a glass of wine a day isn’t the best prescription. It might not be hurting you, but it definitely isn’t helping you as much as you may have thought. Your excuse to open a new bottle tonight might be gone, but who really needs a reason anyway? Just understand that all alcohol comes with its risks and be aware of the health implications before pouring your wine tonight.