(CNN) — It is assumed that beer drinkers celebrated Tuesday when the Wall Street Journal reported that two studies indicated moderate levels of beer may be good for your health. Before you go out and ask your doctor for a prescription for beer, however, you might want to read a little further. CNN anchor Carol Lin double-checked this brewing story with CNN medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen.
Should we believe this?
Cohen:Well, we called the authors of those studies and what we found was that actually that is not completely true. Sorry to disappoint anybody.
The first study, done by Kaiser Permanente, said there was no statistically significant evidence that showed that … beer drinking was any healthier for you than drinking red wine or alcohol.
In the case of a second study at Harvard, the author said … it did appear that beer helped lower blood pressure better than red wine or spirits, but you know what, we didn’t make a big deal of it … because we still think that any kind of alcohol in moderation is good for your health. We don’t think beer is any better.
As a matter of fact, let’s take a look at what these Harvard researchers said. The first one said, “We didn’t find any real difference in the type of alcohol for the prevention of heart disease.”
And the second researcher said, and I thought this was pretty interesting, “Alcohol is alcohol is alcohol.”
Now … alcohol appears to be good for your health [for] a couple reasons. It seems to lower your blood pressure. It seems to raise your good cholesterol, which is a good thing. And it also appears to make your platelets less sticky, and that’s a good thing for prevention of heart attacks and stroke.
But the key is, it has to be moderate drinking. So let’s take a look at what moderate drinking actually is.
Moderate drinking for women is up to one drink per day. That is not a lot. Let me repeat that. One drink per day. Not a lot. For men, up to two drinks per day is what can help protect your health. If people drink more than this, either you don’t get any benefit, or if you really keep drinking more, it actually harms your health.
You might wondering, one drink a day or two drinks a day, what exactly is a drink?
A 12-ounce beer, that would be considered one drink.
So not the super size kind that you get at the ballpark.
Cohen: Right, not the super malt, whatever. One 12-ounce. And five ounces of wine, either red or white, both appear to be about the same in terms of health usefulness, or a one and a half ounce shot of alcohol.
All right. OK. So either way, one drink for women, two drinks for men. Those sizes. No more benefit to beer than wine or alcohol.
The bottom line?
Cohen: The bottom line. What is interesting is that everyone said, Oh, red wine is good for your heart. And it turns out that is not true either. Alcohol is alcohol is alcohol.