We all know consumption of large quantities of alcohol is damaging to humans in many many ways, the list is endless.
However, I am curious about the studies done on consumption of small amount of alcohol, many studies have found a correlation between low alcohol consumption and higher longevity, people who drink small amounts of alcohol have a higher life expectancy than non-drinkers. The reason given is that small amounts of alcohol have a small benifit to the cardiovascular system.
They is only one study I can find that disputes the accuracy of these findings (December 1997 issue of the JOURNAL OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY OF MEDICINE), it concludes that the category that makes up non-drinkers in these studies are overrepresented by people with health problems, former alcoholics, people with diabeties etc who don't drink for these reasons, and who have lower life expectancies, because of these health problems.
However, some other studies claim to correct for these things, putting lifetime abstainers in their own category, correcting for wealth, social position, etc etc and still claim people who drink a low amount of alcohol have a higher life expectancy than lifetime abstainers.
I am very suspicious of these findings, consider for example, being slightly overweight, living in a city, going for long periods without sex, little excercise etc etc are all well known to have negative effects on life expectancy, even though they seem fairly minor. So how can a substance that has such a profound effect on the human body and notably the brain, not have any negative long lasting consequences to life expectancy, even if it is taken in small quantities. Air polution when living in a city effects life expectancy by upto 5 years, we don't notice the effects on us of a few part per million of toxicants in the air, yet we certainly notice the effect of being intoxicated (alcohol is of cousre just another toxin) with couple of glasses of wine. How the f%$& can air polution cut years off of ones life given its minor effects, and alcohol despite is huge intoxicating effects actually be good for us?
Am I missing something?, I can't help but think the size of alcohol companies and the amount of money the government makes in taxation from the sale of alcohol, and especially its social meaning in society has a lot to do with this. The media have reported findings on the positive aspects of alcohol consumption, but never any study that reports negative aspects, unless its about excessive consumption and alcoholism.
I would be grateful for any thoughts and comments, my wants me to be healthy, and im concerned about any long term damaging effects of alcohol consumption, even when taken in small quantities.