Moderate alcohol consumption
It is well known that heavy alcohol drinking is harmful for health. Excessive alcohol intake and binge drinking are also associated with increased CVD risk7.
In contrast, accumulating scientific evidence from epidemiological studies indicates that light to moderate drinking may reduce CVD risk, especially CHD and all-cause mortality8,9. It is hypothesized that the cardiovascular protective effect of alcohol is attributable to several mechanisms, including reducing platelet aggregation (alcohol is a natural anticoagulant) and lowering BP, and increasing levels of HDL-cholesterol8,9.
Non-drinkers should not be encouraged to start drinking. There are no health-related reasons for non-drinkers to start drinking.
For instance, moderate wine consumption (1 glass per day), preferably with a meal, is an optional part of the Mediterranean dietary pattern8.
Nevertheless, a recent Mendelian randomization study based on analyses from 59 epidemiological studies has questioned any beneficial effect of moderate alcohol consumption, suggesting that the lowest CVD risk was seen in non-drinkers and that any amount of alcohol is associated with elevated blood pressure and body mass index10.
1 alcoholic drink is approximately equivalent to 10 g of alcohol = 330 ml of beer (5% alcohol) or 140 ml of wine (12% alcohol) or 42 ml of distilled spirit (40% alcohol)
The key word in alcohol consumption is moderation! No more than 1 drink/day.
Test your knowledge
- For those who drink alcoholic beverages, no more than one drink/day (equivalent of 10 g alcohol) is advised
- Non-drinkers should not be encouraged to start drinking
- Patients with hypertriglyceridemia should abstain from drinking alcoholic beverages