I basically never drink, but it looks like the evidence is continuing to mount that very light alcohol consumption can greatly reduce the risk of heart disease. Seeing as how one of my grandfathers died from a heart attack, this is something that concerns me.
The Danish study included 27,178 men and 29,875 women volunteers who were free of coronary heart disease at the start of the study. They filled out questionnaires and underwent interviews about their eating and drinking habits, recording how many drinks they had per week. A drink was defined as containing 12 grams of ethanol, a little less than one-half ounce. ...
For men, the more they drank, the lower the risk. One drink a week lowered the risk by about 7 percent, two to four drinks by 22 percent and five or six drinks a week by 29 percent. Those who drank every day had a 41 percent lower risk of heart disease than those who did not drink at all. Even among men who had up to 35 drinks per week, the protection persisted.
With women, the trend was different. One drink a week lowered the risk by 36 percent, but daily drinking lowered it by 35 percent. In other words, for women, alcohol consumption had a significant protective effect, but the frequency of drinking had none.
I don't drink for three reasons: I'm concerned about my Christian witness to the people around me, I don't like the taste of alcohol, and I'm incredibly afraid of becoming an alcoholic. I've known alcoholics, and it's tragic. I feel like it would be easy for me to get addicted, and so I stay as far away as possible. Me or my wife becoming addicted to alcohol or drugs would be one of my nightmare scenarios.
There's some really good health advice near the end:
The researchers also stressed that their data said nothing about binge drinking or about the number of drinks per occasion, and Dr. Gronbaek said that drinking was not a substitute for exercise or good diet. "You shouldn't avoid exercise," he said, "and then try to compensate by drinking."