(Lisa Rapaport) Lots of people think a glass of wine or beer at dinner can help them have a longer and healthier life. But a new study suggests that much of the evidence in favor of moderate drinking may be shaky at best. Scientists took a closer look at findings from 87 previously published studies on drinking and death from all causes and found all but 13 of these experiments had a critical flaw.

Most of the studies compared moderate drinkers—people who had one or two drinks a day—with current abstainers. The problem is the studies didn’t account for medical reasons that may have driven abstainers to avoid alcohol, potentially exaggerating the health benefits seen with moderate drinking. After taking this so-called abstainer bias into account, “our study found no net benefits overall,” said lead study author Tim Stockwell, director of the University of Victoria’s Center for Addictions Research in British Columbia, Canada. READ MORE