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Drinkers Live Longer

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Drinkers Live Longer

Those who drink alcohol love longer than abstainers…

Over the years many studies have consistently uncovered the rather controversial findings that suggest those who abstain from drinking alcohol die younger.

Alcoholics Anonymous has always explained that these surprising findings occur because, in this type of research, those who show up as abstainers are actually former alcoholics who already damaged their health.

But the new research, conducted by Charles Holahan and his colleagues at the university of Texas at Austin, took into account all imaginable variables and still found that both moderate and heavy drinkers live longer than those who don’t drink at all – moderate drinking is defined as one to three drinks a day.

Researchers are still unclear as to why this appears to be true. However they believe that drinking alcohol in moderation, especially red wine, can improve heart health, circulation, and sociability.

drinkers live longer

Those Who Drink Alcohol Live Longer

Image Credit: Davide Restive, 2008.

Social life is an often overlooked factor that is extremely important because those who are isolated, or don’t have as many family members and friends, have fewer people who can notice symptoms and help treat health problems.

They also believe that many people who abstain from drinking alcohol tend to be from a lower socioeconomic class, as drinking can be expensive, and that having a lower socioeconomic status often comes with more life stresses – job, childcare and other worries that can cause to stress related illness. They also don’t get the stress-reducing benefits of a drink or two after work.

Nevertheless, after controlling all imaginable varibales – socioeconomic status, level of physical activity, number of friends, etc, the results still showed that the mortality rate of those who do not drink is higher than those who do.

The study looked at 1,824 individuals between the ages of 55 -65, over a 20 year period. During this time 69 percent of the abstainers died, 60 percent of the heavy drinkers died, and just 41 percent of the moderate drinkers dies.

Although the results clearly showed that those who drink live longer, the authors of the study still warned that drinking alcohol is linked to higher risk of cirrhosis, and several types of cancer. Alcohol also impairs the memory, and is often the cause of other mishaps and accidents. There’s also issue of addiction.

The new paper was published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.


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  1. John Cloud: Why Do Heavy Drinkers Outlive Nondrinkers? Time, 07/30/2012.

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