People who drink moderately `are healthier than teetotallers`

London: It`s okay to have a couple of
glasses of wine in the evening, say researchers who have found
that people who drink in moderation are actually healthier
than teetotallers.

A major new study, published in the `European
Journal of Clinical Nutrition`, has revealed that people who
drink moderately have lower rates of heart disease, obesity
and depression than those who abstain from alcohol entirely.

Dr Boris Hansel of the Piti-Salptrire Hospital in
Paris, who led the study, said: "Moderate alcohol intake is
a powerful marker of a higher social level, superior general
health status and lower cardiovascular risk."

As part of the study the researchers analysed
the medical records of 150,000 people from the Paris area who
underwent medical examinations between 1999 and 2005. The
split the sample into four groups -- people who did not drink,
light drinkers, moderate drinkers, and heavy drinkers.

Light drinkers were defined as those who drank
one unit alcohol a day -- the equivalent of one small glass of
wine. Moderate drinkers consumed between one and three units a
day -- up to half a bottle of weak wine or a pint-and-a-half
of standard strength beer.

An analysis of the records showed that light and
moderate drinkers scored better than both teetotallers and
heavy drinkers on a range of health indicators.

In addition to reduced rates of heart disease and
depression, they tended to have lower cholesterol and lower
blood sugar levels, and suffer less from stress.

The researchers also found that people who controlled
their drinking tended to come from higher socio-economic
groups, and do more exercise.

"There is no reason to think that alcohol consumption
augments one`s social or professional standing. What we see,
in fact, is that people who drink moderately are people who,
at the same time, lead healthier lives," Dr Hansel was quoted
by `The Daily Telegraph` as saying.

The study indicated that people who drink moderately
"for pleasure" could continue doing so, he said.


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