The healthful benefits derived from alcohol may be the same no matter the source, be it a glass of red wine or a bottle of beer, according to a new analysis that casts doubts on studies that have suggested wine is most beneficial.
The study, published in the January issue of The Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, suggests that wine was singled out in past studies because those who prefer it over other alcohol tend to be healthier.
The study looked at 802 individuals ages 55 to 65 over the course of 20 years, 345 of whom were not drinkers, and the rest of whom comprised a mix of moderate drinkers broken down into high-wine and low-wine consumption. It found that the drinkers who had one to two drinks per day outlived the abstainers. When certain factors were controlled, the study showed negligible mortality differences between low-wine and high-wine drinkers.
Lead author Charles Holahan confirmed that moderate drinking by older individuals, no matter the alcohol source, is beneficial. He cautioned, however, that the analysis “does not encourage initiating wine consumption as a pathway to better health.”