Moderate drinking is better than teetotalling: Study

But, moderate alcohol consumption can reduce the chances of fatty liver -- the cause of many diseases -- by up to 60 per cent, it said.

This was far more effective than drinking nothing at all and even better than light drinking, but only occasionally, the report claimed.

"Once more, evidence that light to moderate alcohol consumption is good for health," an ISFAR spokesman was quoted as saying by the Daily Telegraph.

The research, conducted in Japan, recorded the drinking habits of 9,885 men.
Moderate drinkers had the lowest prevalence of fatty liver but further checks found it was related more to how often they drank rather than how much.

Those who had around three or four alcoholic drinks spread over 21 days in a month had the lowest risk of all, it showed.

The report said: "Our observations suggest that alcohol consumption plays a protective role against fatty liver in men, and consistent alcohol consumption may contribute to this favourable effect." Obesity was a much greater factor than alcohol in developing fatty liver, the report said, adding: "Excessive alcohol consumption is a leading cause of cirrhosis and other serious types of liver disease.

"On the other hand, the most common liver disease in many populations, fatty liver disease, is associated primarily with obesity and other features of the metabolic syndrome.

"And ... moderate alcohol intake may not only not increase the risk, but may actually decrease the risk of this common disease."

Related studies showed that excessive alcohol inflames liver cells but moderate amounts decrease the inflammation.

Obesity was a far more common factor than alcohol intake for liver disease among men and health authorities should concentrate more on advocating healthy living choices to avoid this, the study said.

Excessive drinking can contribute to obesity but moderate drinking is less likely to do so, it added.

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