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Can Heavy Drinking Actually Boost Heart Health?

Findings from a Spanish study published on November 19th in the journal Heart appear to show that men who drink alcohol every day may have a decreased risk of heart disease.

The controversial study included over 15,000 men and 26,000 women from Spain between 29 and 69 years of age.

The researchers classified the participants as:

1. Non-drinkers

2. Former drinkers

3. Low drinkers: less than one drink per day

4. Moderate drinkers: 1-2 drinks per day

5. High drinkers: 4-7 drinks per day

6. Very high drinkers: more than 7 drinks per day

During a follow-up period of ten years, the researchers collected data on the number of coronary heart events among the participants.

They found that men who were moderate, high or very high drinkers had a 30% lower risk of developing heart disease compared to those who were low or non-drinkers.

The controversial part of the study was the fact that heavy drinkers had an even lower instance of heart disease than moderate drinkers.

The study researchers and a number of experts have noted that these findings should not encourage people to drink heavily because the potential cardiovascular benefits are significantly offset by the negative health effects of drinking more then 1-2 drinks a day.

According to the World Health Organization, 76 million of the 2 billion people in the world that drink alcohol on a regular basis have bad health as a result and 1.8 million deaths occur because of drinking every year.

Previous studies have shown that light to moderate alcohol consumption may lower the risk of obesity, diabetes and some cancers but these benefits could also be due to other lifestyle factors.

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