Wine may help men outlive teetotallers

4 de maio de 20095min0

Moderate drinkers are said to outlive teetotallers
Dangerous idea’ worries alcohol campaigners
Denis Campbell, health correspondent
The Guardian, Thursday 30 April 2009
Article history
Men who drink less than half a glass of wine a day may live up to five years longer than teetotallers, and could have less chance of a heart attack, a study has found.
An analysis of the impact of alcohol on men’s health by a team at Wageningen University in the Netherlands found that long-term light consumption – less than 20 grams daily – is more beneficial than being teetotal. Although the findings are not the first to link a moderate intake of alcohol with certain health benefits, the study is the first to examine the effects of different drinks, claiming that wine is much healthier than beer or spirits.
The research, reported in today’s Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, was undertaken by a team led by Dr Marinette Streppel of the Division of Human Nutrition, which examined the lifestyle and alcohol consumption of 1,373 men born between 1900 and 1920 whose health had been examined regularly between 1960 and 2000.
The men were studied to see how much alcohol they consumed, what type, and over what period of time, to find out if their risk of dying from a heart attack, stroke or other cause was affected.
The researchers concluded that drinking up to 20 grams a day could extend men’s lifespan by up to two years over those who avoided alcohol.
They also found that men who drank only wine, and less than half a glass a day, lived for about two and a half years longer than those who drank beer or spirits, and almost five years more than teetotallers.
The researchers say: “Long-term wine consumers had about five years longer life expectancy at age 50 compared with non-alcohol users. Of these five years, about two years can be attributed to an effect of alcohol intake. The remaining three years can be attributed to an effect of wine consumption.” For the study, 70% of the wine consumed was red. The researchers add: “This suggests that the cardioprotective effect of wine could be due to a protective effect of polyphenolic compounds in red wine, but other explanations cannot be ruled out.” In the UK, 720m bottles of red wine were consumed last year, compared with 764 million bottles of white and 150 million of rosé.
The Wine and Spirit Trade Association, which represents wine producers, importers and wholesalers, welcomed the research. “This study reinforces the view taken by a government committee some years ago that moderate consumption of alcohol can have a positive impact on people’s health, particularly in relation to heart disease,” said a spokesman, Gavin Partington. “It’s important to recognise the benefits of moderate consumption, while acknowledging the risks associated with alcohol misuse.”
But alcohol campaigners said any idea that drinking could promote good health was dangerous. Don Shenker, chief executive of Alcohol Concern, said: “Some evidence shows that very moderate alcohol intake can be beneficial, but this must be weighed up against the serious harms caused by drinking more than moderate amounts. For example, in men, drinking more than half a glass a day, there’s a drop in life expectancy.
“And individual risk must be taken into account. Research earlier this year found that drinking a small glass of wine per day increases the risk of cancer in women. The notion that we can somehow use alcohol for health benefit is a dangerous one. Swapping a healthy lifestyle for half a glass of wine a day would be counter-productive.”

Sobre a UNIAD

A Unidade de Pesquisa em álcool e Drogas (UNIAD) foi fundada em 1994 pelo Prof. Dr. Ronaldo Laranjeira e John Dunn, recém-chegados da Inglaterra. A criação contou, na época, com o apoio do Departamento de Psiquiatria da UNIFESP. Inicialmente (1994-1996) funcionou dentro do Complexo Hospital São Paulo, com o objetivo de atender funcionários dependentes.


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