Effects of Low-dose Alcohol Consumption

The existing evidence finding cardiovascular benefits from low-dose alcohol consumption is weak, and emerging evidence suggests that these protective effects are spurious (i.e., do not exist, or are harmful).

Although alcohol consumption is a leading cause of preventable death and social problems worldwide, previous studies often find an association between low-dose consumption and a reduced risk of cardiovascular (CVD) disease. Despite shortcomings in science, this information has been promoted extensively, used to argue against the adoption of policies to reduce excessive drinking and led some doctors to advise patients to drink for better health.

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Even assuming cardiovascular benefits from moderate drinking are real, the WHO estimates are that alcohol causes far more death and disability than it prevents. Further, if real, the optimal mortality benefits apply at very low levels (maximally half a drink per day for women, and less than one drink per day for men) and increase thereafter.