By Tom Campbell via SWNS
It's bad news for Britain's tipplers as just one glass of wine a day takes a toll on the body, warns new research.
People who drink less than the recommended 14 units of alcohol every week are still putting their heart health at risk, say scientists.
Healthcare professionals often advise drinking in moderation, with some even suggesting a glass of wine can be good for the heart.
But now, scientists have found even one or two drinks every week increases the risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
Their study throws into question the validity of previous research, which has been used to defend drinking small to moderate amounts with meals.
Lead author Dr. Rudolph Schutte of Anglia Ruskin University, said: “Among drinkers of beer, cider and spirits in particular, even those consuming under 14 units a week had an increased risk of ending up in hospital through a cardiovascular event involving the heart or the blood vessels.
"While we hear much about wine drinkers having lower risk of coronary artery disease, our data shows their risk of other cardiovascular events is not reduced."
Data on 350,000 people aged between 40 and 69 who were taken to hospital with heart problems was analyzed by the researchers.
Participants were asked how much alcohol they drank every week and whether it was beer, wine or spirits.
They were monitored for seven years on average, with any hospitalizations linked to heart and blood problems being captured.
Anyone who had experienced heart issues beforehand was excluded from the study, as well as former drinkers and those who did not complete the questionnaire.
Drinking less than 14 units of alcohol per week - the recommended limit, still came at a price, the researchers found.
Each additional one and half pints of beer, at four percent strength, increased the patient's chances of having heart failure by 23 percent.
Biases in the evidence from previous studies have led people to believe in the so-called J-curve, that having just one or two drinks could benefit their health, the researchers say.
For example, some used non-drinkers as a comparison when many of them did not drink for reasons of poor health.
Also, how much people drink is often calculated by pooling all drink types, or some studies only looked at the benefits of wine on coronary artery disease.
Dr. Schutte said: "The so-called J-shaped curve of the cardiovascular disease-alcohol consumption relationship suggesting health benefits from low to moderate alcohol consumption is the biggest myth since we were told smoking was good for us.
“Biases embedded in epidemiological evidence mask or underestimate the hazards associated with alcohol consumption."
The average adult in the UK drinks about 9.7 liters of pure alcohol per year – or about 18 units a week.
Dr. Schutte added: "When these biases are accounted for, the adverse effects of even low-level alcohol consumption are revealed.
“Avoiding these biases in future research would mitigate current confusion and hopefully lead to a strengthening of the guidelines, seeing the current alcohol guidance reduced.”
The findings were published in the journal Clinical Nutrition.
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