Several recent studies have shown that moderate consumption seems to cut the risk of heart disease. A British Regional Heart Study survey found the highest rates of heart attack in non-drinkers and occasional drinkers. The study, over nine years, covered 7,735 men aged 40 to 59.
Professor Gerry Shaper, an epidemiologist at the Royal Free Hospital, London, said: 'The findings provide no encouragement for regular moderate drinking on the grounds of . . . promoting good health.'
The study showed the more alcohol drunk, the lower the heart attack death rate. This was most marked in men aged 55-59. Professor Shaper believed this could be attributed to healthier people continuing to drink, while those with serious heart disease tended to reduce or give up alcohol.