Drinking a glass of red wine a day is not good for the heart

For years we have been told that drinking a glass of red wine a day "is a friend for blood". This is not the case, and there are many studies that disprove this theory.

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By Cookist

How many times have we heard that drinking a glass of red wine a day is good for the heart? We have always been wrong. This is nothing but a hoax, very old actually, perpetuated even by many doctors. All scientific studies done on the topic disprove this theory: there is no alcohol level, even moderate, that does not pose even a slight risk of heart problems. Drinking in moderation is not very dangerous because our bodies are good at eliminating toxins, but even one glass carries a slight risk to our health. In short: the risks of cardiovascular disease when drinking even one glass of wine a day are almost zero, but they are not zero. So let's try to get the origins of this rumor though, because if we have believed this story for so many years, it is not because of user misinformation.

The flaw in the scientific method

How did we think that wine could be beneficial? Because of some past studies that did not take various elements into account. The researchers who supported the healthiness of a glass of wine did not consider the other factors in the "guinea pigs'". In these studies, they noticed that those who limited themselves with alcohol consumption had health benefits compared to those who drank a lot. They came to this conclusion by ignoring the lifestyle of the people involved: those who drank little generally also led a better lifestyle than those who drank a lot, so the beneficial effects were not due to alcohol.

According to past research, a small amount of alcohol would help protect the heart, but no researcher has ever precisely explained how this process could take place. It was pure empiricism: moderate drinkers were less often affected by heart disease than heavy drinkers. According to the analysis of Massachusetts General Hospital and the Broad Institute of MIT, the research did not take into account the lives of the subjects: those who drank little alcohol generally had a lifestyle that led to a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease. There is also another very interesting fact, this time from the UK Biobank: a database of nearly half a million Britons with clinical data made available to scientists anonymously. According to the Airc, of these citizens, about 333,000 had reported consuming alcohol, in various amounts and frequency, while nearly 22,000 had said they had never consumed alcoholic beverages, even occasionally. Participants had been asked how much alcohol they consumed weekly, and of what type. Based on the answers, people who stated they consumed less than 14 units of alcohol per week were classified as moderate consumers, while those who consumed more than 14 units were classified in the high consumption category. But what is an alcoholic unit? An alcoholic unit corresponds to 12 grams of ethanol: a can of beer, a glass of wine, and a shot of liquor each contain an average of one unit of alcohol. Guidelines recommend not exceeding two units of alcohol per day for men and one unit of alcohol for women.

The results of this study also surprisingly demonstrate that people who do not drink have a higher cardiovascular risk: why then? Because the non-drinkers involved in the study appeared to be less physically active, with higher body mass index and blood pressure. Comparing the cardiovascular risk of drinkers with that of non-drinkers would therefore introduce a systematic error that leads to underestimating the effect of alcohol or even seeing it as having a protective effect on health. The researchers also confirmed that there are some molecules in the wine that are good for the coronary arteries but are so few that they have no effects, especially when correlated with the risks to our health given by all other cells. The analysis, the authors write, "demonstrates that alcohol has no protective effect on health and is associated with an increase in cardiovascular risk even when consuming 14 alcoholic units or less per week".

Therefore, we can say, without a doubt, that drinking alcohol always does harm and the more we drink the more the risks increase exponentially. For example, if a middle-aged person who does not consume alcohol has a 9% chance of getting heart disease, for someone who drinks a glass of wine a day the chances are 10.5%: the increase is minimal as you can see. The more we drink the more the range between the two percentages increases rapidly, so we must be very careful: drinking a glass of wine a day will not kill us, nor will it improve our health, but the more we drink, the more we risk getting sick.

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