Do you ignore safe drinking limits and consume far more alcohol than official health advice recommends? If so, it seems that while your bingeing will horrify doctors, it will also – for men at least – halve your risk of contracting coronary heart disease.
Until now, studies have pinpointed moderate drinking as being beneficial to heart health. But research reported today in the journal Heart found that men who consume large or very large amounts of alcohol are least at risk of developing the condition, which kills more than 90,000 Britons a year.
Men who drink regularly, even in small quantities, are more than 30% less likely to suffer from heart disease, it found. But those who drink the most cut their risk by the most. Those classed as high consumers of alcohol, between 30 and 90 grams per day, had 54% less chance of getting the disease, while those deemed to have a very high intake, of more than 90 grams or at least eight glasses of wine a day, were 50% less likely.
Alcohol is thought to enhance heart health by keeping cholesterol levels down and so stopping arteries from clogging up.
But, actually, doctors don't have a fucking clue but will, nonetheless, keep pulling pointless theories out of their arseholes as long as they can keep getting the funding.
The research is based on the experience of 15,500 men and 26,000 women aged 26-69 in Spain, which has one of the world's highest intakes of alcohol per head and one of the lowest death rates from chronic heart disease. Women enjoyed some protective benefit, but it was not statistically significant .
Controversy surrounds the link between alcohol and heart disease, and opinion is divided about the findings. Heart's editor, Prof Adam Timmis of the London Chest Hospital, said the study was significant because of the unusually large number of participants.
Robert Sutton, professor of surgery at Liverpool University, said the study was flawed, underpowered intellectually and gave "a highly biased view of the effects of alcohol".
Or, to put it another way, we should ignore the data collected from 41,500 people and, instead, listen to the opinion of just one man—that man being an unknown surgeon who has not undertaken a study of 41,500 people's drinking habits.