Despite previous reports suggesting that moderate alcohol consumption might provide health benefits, a recent analysis of more than 100 alcohol research studies involving nearly 5 million individuals found that moderate drinking provides no significant health benefits and increases one’s risk for death. This is especially true for women, according to a Healthline article about a recent meta-analysis.
Moderate drinking is typically defined as no more than one drink a day for women and no more than two drinks for men, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A drink is defined as 5 ounces of wine, 1 and a half ounces of hard alcohol or 12 ounces of beer.
Published in JAMA Network Open, the study found that those who drink more than 2 ounces of alcohol per day had the highest risk for death, about 35% higher than those who drink less. Women who drink more than 2 ounces of alcohol a day saw a 61% increased risk for death.
Previous studies have reported that people who drink moderately had slower cognitive decline and a lower risk for heart attack or stroke compared with those who never drank or drank heavily, according to Healthline.
This analysis, however, found no link between moderate alcohol consumption and a lower mortality risk.
What’s more, casual drinking may increase one’s risk of getting cancer. Women who consume one alcoholic drink per day have a 5% to 9% higher risk of developing breast cancer compared with those who do not drink, according to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
Study researchers hope this analysis will open people’s eyes about the health impacts of alcohol consumption and help reduce the harm caused by moderate to heavy alcohol consumption.