New Delhi, India
Differential Impact For Desis, Westerners: Study
The study covering 4,400 drinkers and an almost equal number of non-drinkers in 10 cities by doctors from AIIMS, Centre for Chronic Diseases, Public Health Foundation of India and Madras Diabetes Research Foundation has challenged the much touted cardiac benefits of alcohol and has actually warned of potential harm to Indians due to drinking.
Contradicting suggestions, mostly from western nations, that a peg or two was beneficial, doctors have now reported that those who consumed alcohol were at 40% greater risk of developing coronary heart disease (CHD) that those who didn’t drink at all.
The study categorised drinkers in three brackets—heavy drinkers (who consumed more than 28 grams per day), moderate drinkers (14-28 grams per day) and light drinkers (less than 14 grams a day). While light drinkers had a 40% greater risk of CHD compared to non-drinkers, the chances were as high as 60% among moderate drinkers and nearly 100% in heavy drinkers. One drink was equivalent to 14 grams of alcohol (equivalent to 120 ml of wine, 285 ml of beer and 30 ml of spirits).
Dr Ambuj Roy, assistant professor of cardiology at AIIMS, told TOI, “Benefits of moderate alcohol consumption have been found among southern European populations from the Mediterranean region and Caucasians in Europe and North America. However, in Indians, it clearly causes harm just like in African Americans.”
So why does alcohol’s effect vary between races? “It could be genetic. It could also be because of drinking pattern. Of the people we studied, 55% were binge drinkers and had more than four drinks a day at one go. Such amounts can never be safe,” Dr Roy, said. The study mentions a few other reasons. “The heterogenous effect could be due to unfavourable variant of alcohol dehydrogenase. Drinking patterns may account for the difference in results. In particular, Mediterranean drinking patterns are characterised by the use of daily constant amounts of alcohol in the form of wine which has been associated with protection against CHD.”
Source: Times of India