While we’ve noted growing “skepticism” among some in public health and govt about benefits of moderate drinking, a trio of new studies supports the links. First, a study of 70K UK adults found that compared with those who drank less than 1 day per week, drinking 3-4 days/week “was associated with significantly lower risk of diabetes.” Men who drank regularly had a 27% lower diabetes risk, women had a 32% lower risk. Daily drinkers also had lower diabetes risks than infrequent drinkers, as well as lifelong abstainers. In terms of amount, “the lowest risk of diabetes was observed at 14 drinks/week in men and 9 drinks/week in women.”
A second study linked moderate and heavy drinkers with cognitively healthy longevity, or “living to age 85 without cognitive impairment.” Indeed, relative to nondrinkers, moderate and heavy drinking (up to 3 drinks/day for women and men 65 years and older, up to 4 drinks/day for men under 65 years) had significantly higher adjusted odds of survival to age 85 without cognitive impairment.” These moderate to heavy drinkers, as well as “nearly daily drinkers” were 2-3X more likely than nondrinkers to live to “at least 85 without cognitive impairment.”
A third study found that “certain aspects of creative cognition benefit from mild attenuation of cognitive control” resulting from light doses of alcohol. The lead author said: “We found that a small drink can indeed help with certain aspects of creativity…. It might well work for someone who is sitting down to do creative writing or brainstorming ideas in a boardroom.”
Even before these studies emerged this week, NBC News ran a piece titled: “7 Science-Backed Ways Beer is Good for Your Health.” NBC suggested that its audience “say ‘cheers’ to these health benefits” linked to beer specifically, actually listing 8 of ’em: nutrients, reduced risk of diabetes, heart health, stronger bones, improved cognition, reduced inflammation, longevity and a new one to us, reduced formation of bacteria on the teeth. We’ll have more details on some of these studies in the August edition of Alcohol Issues Insights.