Moderate Alcohol Consumption and Chronic Disease: The Case for a Long-Term Trial

Kenneth J. Mukamal, Catherine M. Clowry, Margaret M. Murray, Henk F.J. Hendriks, Eric B. Rimm, Kaycee M. Sink, Clement A. Adebamowo, Lars O. Dragsted, P. Scott Lapinski, Mariana Lazo, John H. Krystal

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Drinking within recommended limits is highly prevalent in much of the world, and strong epidemiological associations exist between moderate alcohol consumption and risk of several major chronic diseases, including coronary heart disease, diabetes, and breast cancer. In many cases, plausible biological mediators for these associations have been identified in randomized trials, but gold standard evidence that moderate drinking causes or prevents any chronic disease remains elusive and important concerns about available evidence have been raised. Although long-term randomized trials to test the observed associations have been termed impossible, clinical investigators have now successfully completed randomized trials of complex nutritional interventions in a variety of settings, along with trials of alcohol consumption itself of up to 2 years duration. The successful completion of these trials suggests that objections to the execution of a full-scale, long-term clinical trial of moderate drinking on chronic disease are increasingly untenable. We present potential lessons learned for such a trial and discuss key features to maximize its feasibility and value.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2283-2291
Number of pages9
JournalAlcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016


  • Feeding Studies
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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