Moderate Alcohol Benefits Vary by Race and Sex, Finds Huge US Survey

Medical News Today, April 24, 2015

Compared with no alcohol consumption, sensible levels of drinking have correlated with better heart health. However, a new analysis has revealed that a cardioprotective link from moderate drinking is not the same for people of African ancestry as it is for white ethnicity, and nor across the sexes.

The findings are drawn from the national health interview survey, run by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the analysis of data from 152,180 adults has been published in the American Journal of Public Health.


The relationship of overall death rates from any cause with levels of alcohol consumption varied by both groupings. The researchers, from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, MA, found the following correlations.

For males, the lowest risk of mortality was:

  • For white men, linked to having 1-2 drinks on 3-7 days a week
  • For black men, found in those who never drank.

Moderate drinking was protective for females similarly–for white, but not for black women:

  • The lowest risk of mortality was among white women consuming one drink on 3-7 days a week
  • But among black women, the lowest death rates were among those having one drink on 2 or fewer days a week.

The study’s lead author says the findings could change public health policy. Chandra Jackson, PhD, epidemiologist and research associate in clinical and translational research at Harvard, says:

“Current dietary guidelines recommend moderate consumption for adult Americans who consume alcoholic beverages. Our study suggests that additional refinements based on race/ethnicity may be necessary.”


The authors discuss the potential explanations for their main finding of racial difference in effects of alcohol consumption, including lifestyle and social factors, and biological and genetic mechanisms.

The researchers call for future research against a list of factors that may vary across different groups of people to explain direct and indirect links to the healthiness and otherwise of alcohol consumption in terms of death risk. They offer these examples for further analysis:

  • Lifestyle related to diet, physical activity, sleep and “youthful experimentation versus coping with hardships”
  • Socioeconomic status and other markers of “social integration”
  • Differences in physical, chemical and social exposures to alcohol, in both occupational and residential environments
  • Genetic and gender differences.

The epidemiological analysis was of data from 126,369 white people and 25,811 black. The CDC survey data were collected from 1997 to 2002, and follow-up continued to monitor death rates through 2006.


Touching on potential biological differences, meanwhile, they discuss confusing results: “The rapid metabolism of alcohol among blacks resulting from potential genetic differences could reduce cardiovascular benefits, yet we found a suggestion of benefit for light consumption among black women, but not among black men.”


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  • Chip Carver

    A short dog of Night Train is not like having a glass or two of wine.

    Never mind the behavioral differences before drinks are consumed.

    • Dr. Rieux

      The lefties are going to cite our ability to metabolize EtOH more effectively as just one more example of our white privilege.

      • Earl P. Holt III

        Doc, our “White Privilege” is evident in the fact that we are the lucky ones who SUPPLY them with the discretionary income to BUY all that liquor, in addition to hookers, gambling, cigs, smack, whack and crack, and expensive rims…

  • superlloyd

    No more malt liquor, Johnny Loot lager or purple drank. Oh noes, it can’t be so. Hahaha!

  • IstvanIN

    I know for a fact Courvoisier is the elixir of life for blacks.

  • Reynardine

    Race is just a social construct… there’s no place like home… race is just a social construct…

    • propagandaoftruth

      Here, drink this.

      • ZenSouth


      • Lexonaut

        The WW2 Tuskegee Airmen P-51 squadron painted the tails of their fighters red. I wonder if there’s a connection.

        • Dr. Rieux

          It reminded them of their girlfriends back home.

          • Lexonaut

            I dunno. I thought the fanny parachute packs did that.

          • propagandaoftruth

            Those bloated shiny bums on higher order primates are actually what I refer to as “vagina-butts”, engorged and bloated during the heat of the estrual breeding window.

            Sorta like the big booty ho’s of the natural world.

      • Dr. Rieux

        Your picture of Baboon Bum rum is a microaggression, don’t you know?


        • propagandaoftruth

          Crack it over the head of a rampaging diversite and it converts into a macro-aggression!

          I like multi-tools. I would think, however, that the baboon-like red posterior which results from manufacturer recommended usage, known as “liquified rectum”, counts as a macro-aggression in the macro picture as well.

      • Jefferson Goodberry

        Dude, you are consistently the best poster on amren. Sometimes I bypass the articles and scroll down to your comments as they are always gold! Keep it up, brother!

    • Dr. Rieux

      Ruby slippers won’t work. You need $400 Air Jordan’s.

  • Mack0

    As much of an example of adapting to agriculture and animal domestication as lactose tolerance.

    • Ron Cheaters

      No doubt having a nip to warm up before going out to perform duties in the cold would strengthen the heart. I know I’ve done it at 4:30 in the morning before I go out to milk the cows. Just enough to warm the belly, and give a small energy boost. That’s all you want.

      • Dr. Rieux

        But yours is a far cry from downing a 42 ouncer of Olde English before setting out on a sultry afternoon to sell drugs on a Craplanta street cornercorner.

  • Reverend Bacon

    Why do they even bother publishing studies like this, involving self-reporting of data? It’s been proven that blacks disproportionately lie about such things; see, e.g., the studies on drug use.

    What’s interesting, if true, is that blacks metabolize alcohol on average more quickly. But still, I’d translate the “moderate” drinking reported by blacks as being “heavy”, and the non-drinking as moderate-to-heavy. On average, of course: there are abstemious blacks, clearly.

    • 1Forced_Registration

      The self-reporting of data in the black population is indeed a huge problem. I read one study recently where it was claimed that 69% of black fathers *who did not live with their children* helped their children with their homework *every single night*.

      Umm, yeah…

      There was a study done awhile back on self-reported versus actual drug use as verified by enzyme, GC/MS, and LC/MS testing – and the results were quite amusing to say the least. Every group lied, even Asians, the only difference was percentage and the degree to which people lied. In most cases they could only get a general idea that someone had used (for instance, opiates do not have a very strong correlation between circulating blood levels and degree of use, but for something like marijuana the degree of use is easily tracked over a few weeks in urine and one can certainly tell if its increasing, decreasing, or staying about the same).

      • John Smith

        Black fathers help their kids with homework by not helping them at all.

  • Would this be the right spot to make a “drunker than a hundred Indians” joke?

    • Alexandra1973

      Go right ahead.

      (For the record, my mom took a DNA test, so we’ll see how much Amerind I have. I’ll still laugh at your jokes though.)

  • Scott Rosen

    We are all the same.

    • Light from the East

      When it comes to the same, someone must not look into the details.

      • Lexonaut

        Even thinking about the details is racist because one might come to conclusions that are based on reason rather than emotion.

  • Alexandra1973

    What, no mention of Amerinds and White man’s fire-water?

    • The Worlds Scapegoat

      Beer is cheaper than soda in Germany. A 12 ounce can of Coca-Cola costs the same as a 1/2 liter (16oz) of fine German beer.

      Any person of any age can go in a bar and order a beer.


    • M.A

      This is quite true. I remember being horrified when my otherwise wonderful German mother in law would give my 4 year old daughters a sip of her beer. And I’m Irish!.

      “It never did me any harm” my wife told me, a statement which left me much to ponder upon.

      • Exuberant Auditor

        To her defense, drunk kids are always fun, especially the Irish ones.

        • M.A

          Maybe you meant “IN her defense”. Never mind. I let a lot of things go.

          • Exuberant Auditor

            I stand corrected.

  • Lady Texas

    “wahhh, wahhhh, race is only skin deep!!”


  • Bossman

    East Asians never turn red, except when they drink. The alcohol is not broken down in the stomach and goes straight into the blood stream. The article does not say anything about that.

    • Dr. Rieux

      Many have a mutation of aldehyde dehydrogenase which can lead to a build up of toxic levels of acetaldehyde.

  • MekongDelta69

    “However, a new analysis has revealed that a cardioprotective link from moderate drinking is not the same for people of African ancestry as it is for white ethnicity, and nor across the sexes.”

    This should be called The Illiterate Medical News Today.

    “White ethnicity”? How about, Caucasoid?

    “and nor”? How about dropping the “and” genius?

    • UncleSham

      I do not consider White and Caucasoid to be interchangeable. North Africans are Caucasoid, but they are not White. Do they process alcohol the same way as Europeans? I don’t know.

  • Diana Moon Glampers

    Finally some solid proof of white privilege! Now we really can’t deny it. All we can do is have a drink.
    I’m ok with that.

    • John Smith

      I’ll drink to an America with no negroes.

      • Lexonaut

        But you won’t be able to drink in an America with no negroes.

  • DevilDocNowCiv

    This can’t be true-after all, race is merely an illusion-I know, because that is the position of many respected academics who insist that one of the reasons that racial IQ differences are not accurately found is that race itself is merely an illusion of our society. One of the amazing but true facts of our current liberal academic world.

  • John Smith

    This is because negroes who drink are even dumber than they are normally and end up doing something that gets them killed.

    • The Worlds Scapegoat

      Hold me beer and watch this.

      Oh, wait. That’s is what white people say.


  • The Worlds Scapegoat

    I’ll be the first to say (type) it.

    Alcohol be raciss!


  • MikeofAges

    This just in. Races and ethnic groups are different. So are the sexes. And this interesting sidelight, which would have occurred to no one had it not been pointed out. Adults females are more alike across all boundaries, while men are more different. What an utterly shocking thought.

  • slobotnavich

    Interesting study. I suspect that whites might benefit from moderate drinking mainly because it’s relaxing and eases stress and tension. With blacks it likely reduces their already lower impulse control and perhaps increases the risk of reckless and dangerous behaviors, to include such factors as reckless driving, getting into violent altercations, and even casual sex and the resultant STDs.

  • UncleSham

    According to anecdotal evidence, not only is alcohol less harmful to the health of White males, but we can also drink more without getting drunk. This gives us an advantage with business transactions in which drinking is involved. White Privilege!

    • Lexonaut

      Among people of Irish descent like me, drinking has been known to cause broken bones and time in jail.

      • Dr. Rieux

        EtOH leeches away bone calcium, eh?

        • Lexonaut

          Actor Gene Hackman, also of Irish descent, once remarked that he liked to walk into bars and start fights just because he was bored.

  • George Moriarty

    Here in Australia Aboriginals were banned from having alcohol for generations. The do-gooders finally had their way and stopped this paternalistic form of discrimination. The result of alcohol availability was and still is a total disaster for the Aboriginal race. So bad that some communities have now been declared dry.

  • Light from the East

    Yes, white privilege and racism prevent black people from drinking too much and prevent black people to have a faster metabolism of alcohol. Race is of course a social construct. We must make laws to force white majority to acknowledge there is no difference when it comes to alcohol consumption between whites and blacks since it is a social construct.

  • carriewhite64

    What is this “biological differences” of which you speak?

    • Exuberant Auditor

      It means inherent and inheritent differences, not ones influenced by environment.

      • carriewhite64

        My attempt to make fun of race deniers.

        • Exuberant Auditor

          Oh, right… It did sound weird that you’d genuinely ask a question like that.

  • Earl P. Holt III

    I’m kind of curious about where they found those blacks who were “light-drinkers”…

    • Rurik

      Black “light-drinker” – one who begins when the sun comes up.

  • Who Me?

    White light drinking: a glass or two of wine with dinner.
    Black light drinking: going to bed before passing out where you sit.

  • pennawhytmn

    Yet another example of “white privilege”. The makers of wine, and spirits are all racists, whose main hidden goal is to harm the health of Black people. The same can be said of all the health care professionals who have been promulgating the use of red wine as a health benefit. “Dey all bees rayciss”.

  • Exuberant Auditor

    Well I’ll drink to that!