Is a little bit of alcohol good for you?

Some things seem to be too good to be true.

The idea that life’s little pleasures – a glass of red wine, for example – might be good for us is seductive. Given that most public health advice is simultaneously common sense and mildly dispiriting – eat healthily, exercise, don’t smoke – the possibility that we don’t have to live like Spartans to live long and healthily lives is surely good news… But is that really the case?

In this blog post, first published on the Institute of Alcohol Studies blog, Professor Marcus Munafò and Professor George Davey Smith of MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit explain why confounding factors skew studies to suggest a small amount of alcohol might have health benefits, and how Mendelian randomization has debunked this common myth. (more…)