Latest scientific news 27 August 2020

Wine, beer or spirits – is there a difference?

Science often tries to prove that moderate drinkers live longer and also without or fewer chronic diseases. British researchers examined whether – besides healthy lifestyle factors – the type of alcoholic beverage also may play a role.

More than 500,000 participants (age 40-69 years) were followed up for seven years. Their consumption of alcoholic beverages was self-reported as pints of beer/cider, glasses of champagne/white wine, glasses of red wine and measures of spirits per week (*).

While the risk of total mortality with beer and spirit drinkers increased in a dose-dependent manner, the researchers found a reduced risk for those consuming white wine and champagne. Ranging from one glass per week to two glasses per day, a significantly reduced risk of total mortality was observed. This was especially due to the reduced rate of ischemic heart disease (heart attack), which was 16% lower for white wine and 12% lower for red wine consumers.

Even though there are few studies which examine the preference of alcoholic beverages, these findings seem more likely due to the properties of polyphenols rather than wine’s alcohol content – besides the dietary and drinking pattern of the participants. More research is necessary to investigate this observed effect.

Schutte, R et al.: Drink types unmask the health risks associated with alcohol intake – prospective evidence from the general population. Clinical Nutrition 2020, doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2020.02.009

(*) champagne/wine: glasses with 125 ml, beer/cider: pints with 568 ml, spirits with 30 ml.