UK & World News
Moderate Drinking 'Could Be Bad For Your Heart'
Advice that suggests alcohol could be good for your heart is wrong and should be updated, according to some experts.
It follows decades of conflicting reports and previous research which suggested light-to-moderate drinking is good for the heart.
Scientists from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine published their new research - based on genetic studies - in the British Medical Journal.
They believe a reduction in alcohol could improve the cardiovascular health of even light to moderate drinkers.
The research - conducted with the University of Pennsylvania - looked at 56 separate studies on the drinking habits of more than a quarter of a million people of European descent.
The study revealed that some people who carried a genetic variant associated with low alcohol consumption tended to have a healthier cardiovascular profile than those without, and they had a 10% lower risk of coronary heart disease and lower blood pressure.
Professor Juan Pablo Casas, who worked on the study, told Sky News: "Current policy needs to be updated in the light of new evidence.
"Drinking is certainly not good for your heart, so people need to be conscious about the effects of drinking. So the message is the less alcohol the better."
It is frustrating news for drinkers who are often given conflicting advice about alcohol.
Dr Shannon Amoils, a research advisor at the British Heart Foundation, said: "Studies into alcohol consumption are fraught with difficulty, in part because they rely on people giving accurate accounts of their drinking habits.
"Here the researchers used a clever study design to get round this problem by including people who had a gene that predisposes them to drink less.
"The results reinforce the view that small to moderate amounts of alcohol may not be healthy for the heart, although the study would need to be repeated in a larger group of people for definitive results."
Nutritionist Nicole Berberian said: "There's a lot of information about dos and don'ts, but the same message always shines through; if you've got the healthy diet and the odd glass of wine or beer coming in on a week by week basis, that's going to be okay."
The advice in general seems to be that the best approach is to drink alcohol only in moderation.