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Drinking daily, even just a drink or two, linked to premature death

Researchers warn that light drinking shouldn’t be considered healthy

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The old adage promoting “everything in moderation” may be particularly popular at Wine-O’Clock and Happy Hour, but researchers are warning that the message should not apply to alcohol.

The latest buzzkill comes from researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Their study, published Wednesday in the journal Alcoholism, evaluated 400,000 people and found that those who imbibed four times per week were 20 percent more likely to die prematurely, even if they only had one or two drinks each day.

“Daily drinking, even at low levels, is detrimental to one's health,” the study concludes.

Even light drinking may be dangerous

Earlier research had suggested a link between light drinking and improved cardiovascular health. The researchers say that those previous findings may be valid but that people need to look at the bigger picture.

“It used to seem like having one or two drinks per day was no big deal, and there even have been some studies suggesting it can improve health,” lead author Dr. Sarah M. Hartz said in a statement.

While Hartz acknowledges that there may be situations in which “occasional drinking potentially could be helpful” depending on a person’s individual health history, she says that the general idea that a glass or two of wine is healthy is misguided.

Her work follows a study published this year in The Lancet which also claimed that no amount of drinking is safe.

The studies come after years of headlines promoting a variation of “red wine kills cancer” made rounds on social media. The skin and seed of grapes contain the antioxidant resveratrol, leading many wine-lovers to conclude that red wine has cancer-fighting benefits. But the MD Anderson Cancer Center says that “researchers are still trying to confirm whether the resveratrol in red wine actually reduces cancer risk.”

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