In general, moderate drinkers show a lower mortality risk than lifetime abstainers, and heavy drinkers show a higher mortality risk than both of the other groups. The beneficial effects of moderate drinking do not appear to apply to African Americans. Study authors suggest this is due to potentially more detrimental drinking patterns and/or alcohol preferences among African Americans. Many people have heard about the protective health effects of moderate alcohol consumption, usually in relation to red wine. This association is part of what researchers call a “J-shaped” relationship: moderate drinkers show a lower mortality risk than lifetime abstainers, and heavy drinkers show a higher mortality risk than both of the other groups.
A study in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research finds that alcohol consumption does not seem to have protective effects for African Americans, and its authors suggest this may be due to different drinking patterns, specifically, binge drinking
“One of the most discussed findings in alcohol epidemiology is the J-shaped curve,” said Christopher T. Sempos, professor and director of graduate studies in the department of social and preventive medicine at the University of Buffalo, and corresponding author for the study. "Essentially, what it tells us is that some kind of drinking is beneficial to health. In our study, however, this beneficial effect could not be found in African Americans, even when using the same study where the beneficial effect had been found for whites.