Higher total alcohol consumption, including beer and spirits, associated with better health

August 15, 2001

Moderate beer and spirit drinkers may be just as "healthy" as wine drinkers, suggests a study in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. The research shows that alcohol drinkers reported less subjective ill health than non-drinkers. But it was the overall quantity of alcohol consumed, rather than beverage type, that had most impact on health.

The researchers looked at connections between the amount and type of alcohol consumed and subjective assessments of ill health in over 19,000 adults who had taken part in the 1993 Spanish National Health Survey. Factors leading to potential bias in the findings, such as age, employment, physical activity, smoking and socioeconomic status, were also taken into consideration.

Just under a third of the representative sample felt their health was not as good as it could be. Almost 57 per cent said they drank alcohol regularly, with most of the respondents stating a preference for wine. Light to moderate consumption-one to four drinks a day-was the most commonly reported pattern. People with higher levels of income and education and those in work tended to drink more, as did smokers and people whose jobs were more physically demanding.

The results showed that people who drank alcohol, including beer and spirits, were less likely to report ill health than people who abstained altogether. And overall, the higher the consumption of total alcohol, the lower levels of subjective ill health.

Wine drinkers had less subjective ill health than non-wine drinkers, but so did people who preferred other types of alcohol. Wine drinking was also associated with more subjective ill health among those over 45, but less ill health among those who were younger.

The authors say that their findings differ from those of Nordic studies, where wine was the "healthiest" drink and higher alcohol consumption was associated with greater ill health. But they say, some of the difference may be because most alcohol is drunk at mealtimes in Spain, whereas this is not the case in Nordic countries, and diet itself may also play a part.

BMJ Specialty Journals

Related Alcohol Articles from Brightsurf:

Alcohol use changed right after COVID-19 lockdown
One in four adults reported a change in alcohol use almost immediately after stay-at-home orders were issued: 14% reported drinking more alcohol and reported higher levels of stress and anxiety than those who did not drink and those whose use stayed the same.

Changes in hospitalizations for alcohol use disorder in US
Changes over nearly two decades in the rate of hospitalizations and in-hospital deaths from alcohol use disorder in the US were examined in this study.

Associations of alcohol consumption, alcohol-induced passing out with risk of dementia
The risk of future dementia associated with overall alcohol consumption and alcohol-induced loss of consciousness in a population of current drinkers was examined in this observational study with more than 131,000 adults.

New alcohol genes uncovered
Do you have what is known as problematic alcohol use?

Does estrogen influence alcohol use disorder?
A new study from researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago shows that high estrogen levels may make alcohol more rewarding to female mice.

Sobering new data on drinking and driving: 15% of US alcohol-related motor vehicle fatalities involve alcohol under the legal limit
A new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, published by Elsevier, found that motor vehicle crashes involving drivers with blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) below the legal limit of 0.08 percent accounted for 15% of alcohol-involved crash deaths in the United States.

Alcohol-induced deaths in US
National vital statistics data from 2000 to 2016 were used to examine how rates of alcohol-induced deaths (defined as those deaths due to alcohol consumption that could be avoided if alcohol weren't involved) have changed in the US and to compare the results by demographic groups including sex, race/ethnicity, age, socioeconomic status and geographic location.

Cuts in alcohol duty linked to 2000 more alcohol-related deaths in England
Government cuts to alcohol taxes have had dramatic consequences for public health, including nearly 2000 more alcohol-related deaths in England since 2012, according to new research from the University of Sheffield's School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR).

Integrated stepped alcohol treatment for people in HIV care improves both HIV & alcohol outcomes
Increasing the intensity of treatment for alcohol use disorder (AUD) over time improves alcohol-related outcomes among people with HIV, according to new clinical research supported by the National Institutes of Health.

The Lancet:Targets to reduce harmful alcohol use are likely to be missed as global alcohol intake increases
Increasing rates of alcohol use suggest that the world is not on track to achieve targets against harmful alcohol use, according to a study of 189 countries' alcohol intake between 1990-2017 and estimated intake up to 2030, published in The Lancet.

Read More: Alcohol News and Alcohol Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.