Health

The “false myths” about wine, from antioxidants to benefits for the heart: “Fake news promoted by the media and social networks. Here’s how much alcohol you can consume”. The word to the expert

Even moderate drinking of alcohol would be a source of risk to our health. Let’s start from the beginning, from an analysis conducted byAnglia Ruskin University and fromUniversity College London of the database ofUK Biobank Study. This is a collection of epidemiological data, started in 2006-2010, in which half a million British citizens participate on a voluntary basis. Medical information and clinical samples from these people were made available (anonymously) to researchers who requested it, to study how to prevent, diagnose and treat. serious illnesses. In the part of the analysis focusing on alcohol and cardiovascular risk, the researchers looked at about 350,000 participants. Of these, 333,000 had declared that they consumed alcohol, in varying quantities and frequency, while almost 22,000 had instead said that they had never consumed alcohol, even occasionally. Participants were asked how much alcohol they consumed weekly, and what type.

An initial result was found to be paradoxical: “Compared to drinkers, those who have never used alcoholic beverages appear to have a higher cardiovascular risk”, Write the authors of the research. But there is a catch: the non-drinkers included in the study were found to be less physically active, with higher BMI and blood pressure. It is therefore likely that many of them did not consume alcoholic beverages because they were not in good health. Furthermore, the researchers identified a second distortion represented by the fact that the consumption of alcoholic units was considered in general, without distinguishing where they come from. Who drank beer and spiritsin fact, even in moderate quantities, he had a higher risk of ending up in hospital for an event involving the heart and vessels. From this we come to the conclusion that even “two drinks is already too much for the overall cardiovascular risk”, Underlines the professor Emanuele Scafato, Director of the National Alcohol Observatory – WHO Center for Health Promotion and Alcohol Research, Higher Institute of Health. “The study shows that moderate consumption for these people does not reduce the risk of experiencing other cardiovascular events; on the contrary, from the analysis it was verified that the presumed protective effect on health is not highlighted. In other studies, for example, it was found that in the woman a second glass increases the risk of breast cancer by 27% caused by the hyperstimulation of the hormone receptors in the breast tissue that produce estrogen, predisposing to a more probable malignant transformation of any benign lesions “.

There is a die-hard belief that a glass of wine “keeps the cardiologist away”.
“It is evidence from the end of the last century, that of the so-called French paradox, according to which abstainers would risk more than those who drink 1-2 glasses of wine, but repeatedly denied by subsequent analyzes. In practice, the overall evaluation of numerous studies, and not of a single observation, shows that the health of the heart, more than alcohol or wine, needs healthy lifestyles, also because the evidence of ‘protection’ refers exclusively to myocardial infarction, while, for the same quantities, the risks of stroke and other cerebro-cardiovascular pathologies increase, with a net effect between presumed advantages and certain disadvantages, of damage to health “.

Among the alleged benefits of wine, an antioxidant has often been brought up, resveratrol …
“Antioxidants in general, for which the media and production still spread a scientifically equivocal narrative today, are contained in such low quantities that it has been shown that you should take 100 glasses of wine a day, for a few months, in order to verify a any effect linked to the antioxidant, whether positive or negative. A fake news that continues to be promoted by the media, today also and above all by social media, evident privileged channels for millionaire investments by the production sector aimed at passing the value of alcohol based on performance, on the capacity for seduction, on success. social, sexual: nothing that alcohol can keep as a promise “.

So are you saying that the alcohol industry is interfering with the correct information regarding the harms of these beverages?
“According to the WHO reports, the sector industry has increased its influence on the institutional recommendations to be disseminated and the actions to be applied for the correct protection of health, hindering the production of alcohol policies and the achievement of health and development plans set by the United Nations strategies in the 2030 Agenda “.

What are these goals?
“The 10% reduction in risky alcohol consumption by 2025, in practice in just three years. The WHO estimates the costs of alcohol in Italy at 25 billion euros a year. Based on current consumption levels, the OECD simulations estimate that, in Italy, diseases caused by consuming just over a glass a day lead to a reduction in workforce productivity and an increase in costs equal to 0. 7% of health care costs, which require additional income with a tax increase of 27 euros per person per year. A ‘diseconomy’, according to the WHO, more than a real wealth that is only made to pay by society ”.

These are striking figures that are still not talked about very little.
“In Italy, research on alcohol and prevention, even more than elsewhere, is hindered and financed. The same researchers and study groups that analyze, verify and propose prevention actions based on monitoring the impact of alcohol consumption and on scientific evidence are considered uncomfortable, marginalized and weakened in their abilities and skills to increase good prevention practices. in alcohol strategies and policies, the leading cause of premature death, disability and long-term illness among young people ”.

What then are the concrete guidelines for the consumption of alcohol?
“The guidelines of CREA (the most important Italian research body on agri-food, ed) and the scientific community unanimously affirm that there are no safe quantities for the health of consumption of wine, beer, spirits, cocktails, bitters and spirits in general ; adding that alcohol is a carcinogen even in low doses and that in the prevention of cancer, limiting is a must but not drinking is the best choice for health, as promoted by the European Code against Cancer and the recent Resolution of the European Parliament for L ‘European Beating Cancer Plan ”.

Even the World Fund for Research on Cancer (Wcrf) limits itself to advising not to exceed a glass of wine, 33 cl of beer and 40 ml of spirits in order to avoid serious cancer risks. Should this recommendation also be reviewed?
“The guidelines are not a goal to be achieved but a limit not to be exceeded. This is pure common sense, no demonization. The limit must be given precisely for those who still wish to consume alcohol. We always try to deliver scientific evidence that aims to foster informed choices for mature and responsible consumers. For example, it should be remembered that under the age of 18 alcohol must be zero for the greatest damage, including cognitive and brain damage, that any quantity causes at least up to the age of 25, the age in which the maturation in the rational sense of the brain is completed which is interfered by all alcohol consumed in the window of physiological vulnerability between 12 and 25 years. Women and the elderly stop at a glass: a day, not a meal ”.

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