Sour Grapes: Science Confirms That Any Amount of Booze Isn’t Good for You
Scientists have long given us excuses to drink in the name of our health. Studies have suggested that red wine might have antioxidant effects, whiskey could decrease the risk of developing dementia and beer may benefit gut bacteria a la kombucha.
The only catch has been that you can only drink a tiny amount, like you’re Gwyneth Paltrow microdosing on booze.
Sadly, though, you can no longer feel smug (or healthy) about having just one glass of red wine a night, as a new massive meta-analysis of 107 studies that included more than 4.8 million participants recently found that drinking small amounts of alcohol — i.e., less than two drinks a day — didn’t lead to any discernible health benefits.
The authors of the study suspect that past research that observed any upsides to drinking failed to account for potential health problems that cause many to quit drinking. This is a phenomenon researchers refer to as the “sick quitter effect,” which sounds like something a high school gym teacher would yell at you when you walk during the mile.
Not surprisingly, more than three drinks a day was linked with a significantly higher risk of dying from any cause, or “all-cause mortality.” But again, that doesn’t mean an appletini a day keeps the doctor away. Consuming alcohol in moderation won’t necessarily kill you, but it won’t make you stronger either.