Scientists Are Torn Over Whether a 'Healthy Drinking Habit' Actually Exists

August 22nd 2016

Danielle DeCourcey

Researchers and the alcohol industry are in a battle over booze. Is there such thing as a healthy drinking habit?


There are definitely studies that say yes. Two different studies one from 1990 and another from 2004 — said that people who drank one or two alcoholic drinks a day had lower mortality rates than those who didn't drink, according to The New York Times. However people who had three or four drinks a day had a higher mortality rate than people who didn't drink.

However new research suggests that there is no such thing as a healthy drinking habit, and alcohol producers are not happy about it.


An analysis of evidence done by the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research found an association between alcohol and seven types of cancer, according to the scientific journal Addiction. The people with the highest risks were people who drank the heaviest, but contrary to previous findings, people with low to moderate drinking habits also had a higher risk of cancer. The review also said that earlier claims that moderate drinking could improve cardiovascular health were not supported.


However the alcohol industry has spent years pushing the substance as a part of a healthy lifestyle.

We know this thanks to the maligned tobacco industry. Big tobacco company Philip Morris previously owned the beer brand Miller. Documents from anti-tobacco litigation, revealed that in 1996, a Miller executive Patti McKeithan advised other beer industry workers to tell legislators that "alcohol can be a part of a healthy diet," according to the Wall Street Journal.

Cocktails and sunglasses.

Now some of the biggest companies in the alcohol industry are trying to settle the issue once and for all. AB InBev, the largest beer company in the world that sells brands like Budweister and Corona, is joining forces with competitors Heneiken and Pernod Ricard to contribute $55.4 million to a study run by the U.S. National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, according to the Journal. The study will follow 8,000 people over 50, some of whom are at risk for heart disease. However, the study won't measure cancer risk.

In the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 56 percent of Americans said they drank alcohol in the past month.

RELATED: How to Develop a Healthy Drinking Habit