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The latest discoveries in alcohol research

Posted on 05-25-2016 Posted in Health and Wellness, Research, Substance Abuse - 0 Comments

discoveries in alcohol research

When it comes to research trends, watercooler statistics and popular factoids are ever-changing. In an age where Google has been adopted as a verb, and arguments are settled over what Snopes says, it would help to know what the most up-to-date and factual information is concerning alcohol.

Alcohol use trends

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), a standard drink equals 12 ounces of beer, 8 ounces of malt liquor, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits. NIAAA also reports:

  • In March 2016, 24.6 percent of adults reported engaging in binge drinking, defined as at least five drinks for men and four for women, in roughly a two hour span
  • 6.8 percent report engaging in heavy drinking in March 2016
  • Alcohol use disorders affect about 16.6 million adults nationwide, as of 2015
  • Alcohol use disorders also harm nearly 697,000 adolescents in the U.S., according to a 2015 tally
  • A 2015 Gallup poll reports 64 percent of Americans said they drank alcohol in that year; which is consistent with the national average for the last two decades
  • In 2015, 8 in 10 upper-income Americans said they drink alcohol, including college graduates
  • About half of lower-income Americans said they drank last year
  • 2015 Gallup surveys confirm beer leads as the preferred drink in the Unites States
  • The 2015 Monitoring the Future study reports 26 percent of eighth-graders, 47 percent of high school sophomores, and 64 percent of high school seniors admitted to having alcohol

Is moderate drinking good for you?

It was said butter was good for you, then margarine was better, and then back again. Too many eggs was supposed to be bad for cholesterol, but now nutritionists argue whether eggs are the secret to good cholesterol. Often the layperson gets so confused, he or she will throw the baby out with the bathwater or haphazardly pick a side.

In the last few years studies have suggested alcohol, in moderation, may be good for longevity. Some studies even specified three to five alcoholic beverages a week could lower the risk of heart failure or heart attacks.

This widely spread hypothesis has recently been dispelled as a series of gross overestimations. Tim Stockwell, Ph.D., with the Centre for Addictions Research at the University of Victoria, Canada, gathered a team of colleagues to analyze 87 such studies.

The team exposed a number of flaws in the beneficial alcohol studies’ constructs.

  1. 1. Studies compared moderate drinkers with “current” abstainers. But these abstainers often include individuals who don’t drink due to poor health. Thus a claim to longevity could be a misnomer, if a moderate drinker just so happens to already be healthy.
  2. 2. Thirteen of the 87 studies demonstrated no specific mortality benefits with moderate drinking.
  3. 3. Others out of the studies fact-checked identified “occasional” drinkers – people who imbibed less than one drink a week – having the longest lifespan. However, it is unlikely alcohol is the motivator for this, as, “Those people would be getting a biologically insignificant dose of alcohol,” Stockwell emphasized.

The Sovereign Health Group is a nationwide leader in mental health rehabilitation, offering holistic treatment for alcoholism, substance abuse and dual diagnosis of mental disorders and addiction. We keep readers abreast on the latest in clinical research, emerging modalities for recovery and relatable tips for wellness. Call our 24/7 helpline for details on either our Pompano Beach or Fort Myers locations.

About the author

Sovereign Health Group staff writer Kristin Currin-Sheehan is a mindful spirit swimming in metaphysical pools with faith as her compass. Her cover: a 30s-something Cinderella breadwinner of an all-sport blended family. Her repertoire includes writing poetry, lifestyle articles and TV news; editing, radio production and on-camera reporting. For more information and other inquiries about this media, contact the author at

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