KR Biddinger et al. JAMA Netw Open. 2022;5(3):e223849. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.3849. Open Access: Association of Habitual Alcohol Intake With Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
NY Times Analysis of This Study: Does Moderate Drinking Protect Your Heart? A Genetic Study Offers a New Answer.
“There is no level of drinking that does not confer heart disease risk. The risk is small if people have an average of seven drinks a week when compared with none. But it increases quickly as the level of alcohol consumption rises”
“The study, which may help resolve medical disputes over the effects of alcohol on the heart, involved sophisticated analyses of the genes and medical data of nearly 400,000 people who participate in the U.K. Biobank”
“Some researchers have reported that drinking modestly protects the heart because moderate drinkers as a group have less heart disease than those who drink heavily or those who abstain. Dr. Aragam and his colleagues also saw that effect. But the reason, they report, is not that alcohol protects the heart. It is that light to moderate drinkers — those who consume up to 14 drinks a week — tend to have other characteristics that decrease their risk, like smoking less, exercising more and weighing less than those who drink more heavily and those who do not drink.“
“Many earlier studies of alcohol consumption and heart health were observational, meaning the subjects were followed over time to see if the amount of drinking was linked to heart health. Such studies are only able to find correlation but not causation, researchers say. But the Biobank study’s use of Mendelian randomization is more suggestive of causality, and so its results might carry more weight.”
My take: Light alcohol consumption is NOT beneficial for your heart.