What to drink on New Year's Eve: alcoholic beverages from the point of view of science

Drinking small amounts of alcohol (one serving per day for women and two servings for men), appear to be associated with reduced risk of coronary heart disease and higher life expectancy. But people in the New Year, usually not limited recommended doses exceeding them several times. In this search for the most useful of alcoholic beverage can check out: they are potentially dangerous with every odd glass. Yes, and even "caressed" by researchers red wine.

HOW TO CHECK benefit and harm of alcohol?

The best way to study the effects of alcohol would be a randomized controlled trial in which a randomly selected group of people for decades have been drinking two glasses of wine a day, and the other would receive a placebo drink. But scientists will probably never be able to hold it. On the one hand, it is unethical to force the subjects to drink every day (alcohol is addictive), on the other - it would be difficult to verify whether the participants were of the regime for a long period of time.

Instead, researchers have to produce evidence of lower quality. For example, they conduct short-term research, studying the effects of alcohol on human physiology (eg, the level of lipids in the blood). But the problem is that they do not give a lot of information about long-term outcomes (eg, heart disease): in the best case, it will be very generalized predictions.

Also, scientists can conduct observational studies where the health of drinkers, compared with indicators of abstainers. The problem is that these groups of people may have significant differences in lifestyle habits addition of alcohol consumption. For example, wine drinkers may have more money and generally take better care of their health than beer drinkers. This does not mean that the existing studies do not make sense, but to blindly trust the news about the benefits of red wine is not worth it.

Conclusion: it does not matter what you drink in the New Year 2017. The main thing - avoid alcohol intoxication.

Drink moderate amounts - USEFUL?

Apparently, it is. Researchers believe they can be useful for healthy adults one to two drinks per day. Here is what can be considered a portion of the terms of Dietary guidelines for Americans.

The scientists were able to confirm the short-term studies that alcohol raises HDL cholesterol, reducing blood clotting. This mechanism can be called biological basis for communication between alcohol consumption and lower rates of coronary heart disease and myocardial infarction. The results are quite significant, as heart disease - the first cause of mortality worldwide. Theme Still, they are only observational, and in any case do not suggest that alcohol - the magic elixir of health. Moderate alcohol consumption may bear risks for some people. For women, for example, any amount of alcohol associated with increased risk of breast cancer.

Conclusion: choosing a celebratory drink in the New Year 2017 be guided not on conflicting research, and common sense, and the state of his health.

Do red wine particular advantage compared with other types of alcohol?

No, the researchers still have not found conclusive evidence that the type of alcohol significantly influences on health. The key factor - the amount and frequency of alcohol consumption.

The idea that red wine can be useful to other beverages, comes from observations of the French: they drank a large amount of saturated fat consumed, smoking, but have lower rates of cardiovascular disease. At the time, this phenomenon is called the "French paradox", but today scientists no longer find it convincing. Canadians and Japanese, for example, have a greater life expectancy, but use less of red wine.

The benefits of red wine is often associated with a high content of polyphenolic compounds that give its characteristic color. One of them, resveratrol, found in grape skins. Animal studies have shown that it is able to slow down aging and improve metabolism. But to get the dose of resveratrol, which is injected laboratory mice, a person would have to drink about 1000 liters of red wine in one sitting. This, to put it mildly, a bad idea. Moreover, when researchers studied resveratrol levels in the urine of older people, they found no association with any positive health effects.

Conclusion: The well-known benefits of red wine may be caused by the ethanol contained in the beer and liquor and brandy, and vodka. If you believe in the positive effects of polyphenols, can get them from safer sources - grape juice, tea, berries, olive or cocoa.