The World Heart Federation released a policy brief on Thursday stating, in a rather bold move, that no amount of alcohol is good for the heart.
‘At the World Heart Federation, we decided that it was imperative that we speak up about alcohol and the damages to health as well as the social and economic harms, because there is an impression in the population in general, and even among health care professionals, that it is good for the heart’ said Beatriz Champagne, chair of the advocacy committee that produced the report.
Champagne continued on to say that alcohol is not good for the heart, and that ‘evidence has increasingly shown that there is no level of alcohol consumption that is safe for health.’
The comments and report were met by swift criticism, disputing the federation’s stance. Many critics stated that studies which show a small benefit to some heart conditions were being ignored.
David Spiegelhalter, a Winton Professor for the Public Understanding of Risk at the University of Cambridge, stated that one study of the risks of alcohol was extensively used in the WHF brief, but was seriously misrepresented and selectively reported.
Another professor, Emmanuela Gakidou, said that ‘given the WHF report references this paper, it is really odd that their conclusion is that no amount of alcohol is good for the heart.’
In response, Champagne sent CNN a statement, replying that while they stand by their key messages, ‘it is helpful to know that the wording of parts of the policy brief can give rise to misunderstandings.’
However, studies which show a ‘significant cardio-protective effect of alcohol consumption’ have been by-and-large inconsistent, observational, funded by the alcohol industry and/or not subject to randomised control.
Furthermore, any ‘potential cardio-protective effect is negated by the well-documented risks and harms, rendering our judgement that no amount of consumption can be considered good for heart health’
Photo Source: Harvard Health, The Telegraph