A new study shows that moderate drinking — one to two drinks per day — helps older and middle-aged adults to live longer than those who abstain from alcohol altogether.
The researchers identified the sweet spot for living longer to be linked to moderation (not surprisingly). Moderate drinkers lowered their risk of death by 49 percent compared to non-drinkers, and by 42 percent over heavy drinkers.
Psychology professor Charles Holahan and his team at the University of Texas in Austin, along with the Stanford University’s Center for Health Care, evaluated 1,824 participants between ages 55 and 65.
The controlled study spanned 20 years and accounted for variables like socioeconomic status, health habits and levels of physical activity among the abstainers and imbibers. Compared to the moderate drinkers, who had been drinking currently or formerly for 20 years, abstainers in the study sample included many former problem drinkers and individuals with more health problems and health risk factors (such as more cigarette smoking) compared to moderate drinkers.
“Older persons drinking alcohol should remember that consuming more than two drinks a day exceeds recommended alcohol consumption guidelines in the United States and is associated with a higher risk of alcohol use problems,” Holahan said.