You know the whole talk about how a drink or two a day is good for you?  Well, maybe that’s all wrong! 


We've seen numerous studies showing the heart healthy benefits of alcohol…but the CDC says a few drinks a day might not protect against heart attacks and strokes after all.


Yes, alcohol does provide some benefits that would make one presume it protects the heart.  “It can raise the levels of the good cholesterol, the HDL, and make the vessels more flexible making them resistant to the buildup of cholesterol and lowering the blood pressure,” says Dr. Goldberg, Chief of Women’s Cardiac Care at Lenox Hill Hospital.


But maybe, in the end, those benefits don't do much for the heart at all


While some studies even go so far to say that four drinks a day are good for you, the latest study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine suggests that all the benefits we thought were there with alcohol may in fact be unrelated to alcohol intake.


The researchers, based at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta found that moderate drinkers tend to be in better health, better educated, wealthier, and overall more active than those who don’t drink.  And, non-drinkers are more likely to be overweight, inactive, have high blood pressure and diabetes, all risks for heart disease. 


So alcohol may be getting undue accolades.


Dr. Goldberg agrees.  She there really isn’t any good evidence—yet--supporting alcohol’s heart benefits.  “I tell all my patients that they don’t have to start drinking to prevent heart disease,” says Dr. Goldberg.  “If you’re not a drinker, it doesn’t mean you’re going to lose out on heart disease prevention.”


There’s no question, heavy alcohol use is a health issue.  “Too much of a good thing can be bad for you.  In fact, men who drink more than two glasses a day or women who drink more than one glass a day are at increased likelihood of high blood pressure, and very heavy alcohol intake sis associated with racing heart beats and can even weaken the heart muscle resulting in heart failure.”


So, make a toast, but don't use heart healthiness as an argument for drinking excessively, or regularly.


The CDC still said that it recommends limiting consumption to two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women.  Other groups such as the American Heart Association say drinking alcohol increases the dangers of alcoholism, obesity, stroke, breast cancer, suicide and accidents.  Alcohol is the nation's third leading cause of death, killing 75,000 Americans each year through related injuries or diseases, the CDC says.