Drinking a glass of wine with dinner every night (probably) is better for your health than completely abstaining.

  • Scientists say studies touting booze’s health benefits may have been overstated 
  • Study examined alcohol consumption data from over 4,000 German adults. 
  • 72% of 400 people who were teetotallers had an early-death risk factor  
  • Once these were excluded, abstaining from alcohol found to not increase death 

Scientists now suggest that one glass of wine with dinner each night is unlikely to prevent an early death.

A plethora studies have supported light alcohol consumption for years.  

German academics, however, believe that the claims are incorrect. They have been charged with reviewing the evidence. 

They say previous studies showing teetotallers have a higher risk of dying compared to moderate drinkers may have failed to consider other damaging factors like past alcohol abuse. 

Downing a glass of red with dinner for health benefits? You may want to hold off. New research suggests that previous studies showing touting the health benefits of booze may not provide the full picture (stock image)

A glass of red wine with dinner is good for your health. You may want to delay. New research suggests that past studies claiming booze has health benefits may not be accurate (stock photo). 

University Medicine Greifswald analyzed data from more than 4000 adults.

Participants were asked about their drinking habits in late 1990s, and then followed up 20-years later. 

447 of the volunteers reported that they had not drank in the 12 months prior to being interviewed. 

However, almost three quarters of those surveyed reported being at risk for early death from smoking or poor health.

According to the findings published by the journal PLoS Medicine. 35 percent had a past alcohol disorder.

After all of these people were removed from the re-analysis there were 125 people who didn’t drink. 

Over the next 20 years, scientists did not find any significant differences in the risk of death between low and moderate-smokers. 

The NHS recommends that adults drink no more than 14 units each week — that's 14 single shots of spirit or six pints of beer or a bottle and a half of wine

The NHS recommends that adults drink no more than 14 units each week — that’s 14 single shots of spirit or six pints of beer or a bottle and a half of wine

Professor Ulrich John, the lead author of the study, stated that there was no health benefit from drinking alcohol.  

According to him, it has been long assumed that low to moderate alcohol intake might have positive effects for health. This is based upon the finding that alcohol abstainers died earlier than low-to moderate drinkers. 

“We found that most of the abstainers had a history of alcohol or drug abuse, risky alcohol consumption, tobacco smoking, or fair or poor health. 

Professor John said, “The findings speak against the recommendation to drink alcohol for medical reasons.”   

This latest research is part of a ongoing debate about small amounts alcohol’s health benefits. 

In 2019 a landmark paper published in the Lancet stoked fears that consuming even small amounts of alcohol was likely to cause changes in blood pressure and increase the risk of a stroke.

This study overturned a mainstream theory that a regular glass of wine may actually be beneficial for heart health because of the protective antioxidants contained in the drink. 

But researchers from University College London and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine have since claimed the Lancet analysis was flawed after failing to replicate the results.

The NHS advises that men and women should not to drink more than 14 units a week on a regular basis. 


The AUDIT (Alcohol Use Disorders identification Tests) is a widely used screening tool by medical professionals. The World Health Organisation developed the 10-question test, which is widely used to screen for alcohol abuse.

The WHO has granted permission for the reproduction of the test.

Answer each question and take down the score.


0-7 You are within the safe drinking range and have a low chance of alcohol-related problems.

More than 8: Indicate dangerous or harmful drinking

8-15Moderate risk. Drinking at the current level can put you at risk for developing health problems and other issues in your life, such as problems with your relationships and work. Reduce your intake (see below for some tips).

16-19Alcohol can increase your risk of developing complications. It may be difficult to cut down on your own at this level. You may also be dependent.

20 and above: Possible dependence. You may be dependent if your drinking is already causing problems. Stopping drinking gradually is a good idea. Professional help is needed to determine the extent of your dependence and the best way to stop drinking alcohol.

In severe cases of dependence, medically assisted withdrawal (or detox) may be necessary in a hospital or specialist clinic. This is due to the possibility of severe withdrawal symptoms within the first 48 hours.