Washington: People who believe booze to be healthy, end up consuming it substantially more than their counterparts, claims a new study. Using the Health eHeart study, UCSF researchers found that people are divided on the cardiovascular benefits of alcohol consumption.
According senior author Gregory Marcus, alcohol is the most commonly consumed U.S drug. The researchers note that while few, if any, rigorous controlled trials have been conducted to determine alcohol’s potential heart benefits, the media frequently portray alcohol as “heart healthy.”
Of the 5,582 Health eHeart Study participants who responded to questions on alcohol at the time of this analysis, 1,707 (30 percent) viewed alcohol as heart healthy, 2,157 (39 percent) viewed alcohol as unhealthy, and 1,718 (31 percent) were unsure. Of those reporting alcohol as heart healthy, 80 percent cited the lay press as a source of their knowledge.
Further, those respondents who perceived alcohol as heart healthy were older, more often women, had higher levels of education and income, and more often resided in the United States. Compared to the rest of the cohort, they consumed, on average, 47 percent more alcohol. A vast majority of them also believe that red wine exclusively is beneficial.
Smokers and those with heart failure were less likely to view alcohol favorably. Marcus said it was interesting that those who believe alcohol to be heart healthy actually drink more alcohol. Whether their belief causes this behavior, or merely justifies it, remains an interesting unknown. The study is published in the American Journal of Cardiology.