From BBC Future, 2 September 2015:
Those of us who enjoy the occasional glass of beer or wine would dearly love to believe that we’re doing our bodies a service.
Any study suggesting a glass or two a day can keep the doctor away is greeted with disproportionate enthusiasm by the media and general public. But it is a complex task to determine whether or not alcohol in moderation has health benefits.
One of the earlier studies drawing a link between alcohol consumption and health was performed by the late, great Archie Cochrane; the godfather of evidence-based medicine. In 1979, Cochrane and two colleagues tried to work out what exactly was responsible for the differing rates of death from heart disease across 18 developed countries, including the US, UK and Australia.
Their analysis came up with a clear and significant link between increasing alcohol consumption – specifically of wine – and decreasing rates of ischaemic heart disease (heart disease caused by the build-up of fatty deposits inside the blood vessels supplying the heart). Read more.