Over the last 10 years, there have been a number of news stories reporting on the benefits of light to moderate alcohol consumption. These reports sport headlines about alcohol improving heart health or aiding memory.
This was cause for celebration amongst many drinkers and has often been offered as an excuse by people trying to downplay their alcohol consumption.
With the publication of two new studies, these old excuses are no longer valid. A study from published in the journal Alcohol has found that moderate alcohol consumption only appeared to lower the risk of coronary heart disease for 15% of people. That means for 85% of people, alcohol will have no positive effect on the heart.
The 15% of people who do benefit from moderate alcohol consumption do so only because they carry a particular genotype. In other words, these people have a specific series of genes that allow their body to benefit from 1 to 2 drinks per day.
Without through testing there is no way to know who has this gene but it is safe to say that for the vast majority of people alcohol has no benefit for their heart.
Another new study shows that small to moderate alcohol consumption does not improve memory as previously reported. Some small studies have hinted that alcohol in small amounts may improve memory but the latest research from a number of US universities shows that alcohol only improves memory for those who are over 60. They also say that this is not a license for older people to go out and drink. The research shows that alcohol is only beneficial in small doses and binging is still detrimental to the brain. The research points out that anyone with dementia will not be helped by alcohol.
The studies that focus on alcohol and memory are also quick to caution readers that they have only established a correlation between alcohol and memory. That means there is some sort of link between drinking and memory but the alcohol may not be a direct cause for better memory.
In any case, the argument that alcohol has health benefits is no longer a valid one for the majority of people. This many not stop anyone from overindulging but it does remove another excuse.