A new study published in the British Medical Journal found that moderate drinking can lower the likelihood of developing several cardiovascular diseases.

The study, published at the end of March, analysed the results of over 1.9 million people aged over 30 in the UK and is stated to be “the most comprehensive study to date” on the connection between alcohol consumption and cardiovascular disease.

The study concluded that when drinking no more than the recommended 14 units of alcohol a week, consumers lowered their risk of initially presenting with several cardiovascular diseases.

This follows on from the UK Chief Medical Officer revising the recommend alcohol consumption guidelines in February 2016. While previously men were recommended to consume no more than 21 units per week, this was reduced to 14 units per week, the same amount recommended for women.

It must be noted that the report accompanying the study made clear to state that it would “be unwise to encourage individuals to take up drinking” if they felt that it could benefit their health, and still the over-arching message of drinking responsibly remains.

Limitations to the methodology were noted in the study, with one being the use of ‘self-reported intake’ amongst participants, which has been criticized in the past for its susceptibility to inaccurate reporting.

"This is a rare nugget of analysis that offers an insightful viewpoint into the potential benefits of responsible drinking."

It was also noted that the study did not take into account frequency of consumption, and rather measured consumption over an average weekly intake. It is common for people to concentrate their weekly input into a single night or weekend, and these isolated episodes of heavy drinking can offset the beneficial effects of responsible, moderate drinking.

Yet while the mainstream news coverage usually carries stories of the harm that alcohol can cause to the public, this is a rare nugget of analysis that offers an insightful viewpoint into the potential benefits responsible drinking can provide.

The United Kingdom is known for its drinking culture, whether that be a matter of pride or shame, and it needs to be accepted that it is an embedded lifestyle for many. It is possible to remain stalwart in efforts to prevent cardiovascular disease and alcoholism through heavy drinking, while also not stigmatizing the drinking culture in which many thousands take part responsibly.

In related news, a recent Danish study found that moderate drinking may not affect a women’s fertility. With alcohol rightly considered off-limits when pregnant, there was little research into its effects when conceiving. This helps to ease the pressure on moderate drinkers in regards to their drinking habits, something to which the study from the British Medical Journal will also contribute.