Toasting to your health may actually be an oxymoron.

Thirteen studies did account for abstainer bias, and none of them found health benefits associated with moderate drinking, Stockwell and colleagues report in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. Narrowing their list down to 87 studies, the authors found the majority of them may have been coming to conclusions based on what the authors label as "biased" data.

From analyzing 87 studies that looked at the effects of alcohol consumption on death from all causes, the team identified a number of flaws in the way the studies were designed.

When Stockwell adjusted the abstainers group to exclude former drinkers, or excluded studies that didn't properly define abstainers as lifelong teetotalers, the results changed dramatically. Instead, some in this group may be recovering alcoholics.

Many people who fully abstain from alcohol do so because of medical conditions.

A study at the Institute of Preventive Medicine in Copenhagen found that people who drink wine weekly or monthly are two times less likely to develop dementia.

The U.S. dietary guidelines state that moderate drinking, which means one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men, can be part of a healthy lifestyle. A 2011 analysis found cardiovascular benefits from moderate drinking even after correcting for the unhealthy-abstainers problem.

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And, she said, when you consider its potential for addiction and negative effects when used to excess, "for most folks, when it comes to health, drinking less is better".

What's more, Stockwell said, before those corrections were made, it was actually "occasional" drinkers-people who had less than one drink per week-who lived the longest. "Understanding this question is important as we shape alcohol policy". "Compared with nondrinkers, so-called moderate drinkers had no survival advantage", Naimi said.

"Either alcohol is a panacea, or moderate drinking is really a marker of something else", Stockwell said in a press release.

Others argue that there's no place for doctors or public health officials to recommend drinking, and that talk of potential health benefits is a distraction from the real harms of excessive consumption.

"The takeaway message is, in fact, if anything, we are underestimating the health and safety risks from alcohol". The guidance adds that you shouldn't start drinking for your health.

In other words, moderate drinking coincides with a healthier outcome, as opposed to be the cause of it.

I'm sorry to say we're probably wrong. "This is a little overstated". Tim Stockwell of UVic's Centre for Addictions Research said previous research has over-estimated the health benefits of alcohol. That honor now went to the "occasional" drinkers, who drink between one drink a year to three drinks per month. It's possible that abstainers and moderate drinkers may have similar long-term health results. But Cancer Research UK case doubt on the findings, warning excess drinking increases the risk of other cancers, it was reported by the BBC. So, if you plan to debate this at your local tonight, take the current study author's advice to heart. "But just don't kid yourself that you are doing it for your health".