A new study by the University of Calgary has claimed that individuals who drink alcohol in moderation are less likely to develop heart disease than those who drink no alcohol at all.
The research - published in the online journal, bmj.com - claims that people who have about one drink or less a day are between 14 and 25 per cent less likely to develop heart disease than people who drink no alcohol.
Moderate amounts of alcohol significantly increase the levels of 'good' cholesterol circulating in the body and this has a protective effect against heart disease, the researchers claim.
According to man behind the study, Professor William Ghali, the debate between the impact of alcohol on heart disease should now centre "on how to integrate this evidence into clinical practice and public health messages".
He adds: “with respect to public health messages there may now be an impetus to better communicate to the public that alcohol, in moderation, may have overall health benefits that outweigh the risks in selected subsets of patients … any such strategy would need to be accompanied by rigorous study and oversight of impacts".