An updated systematic review and meta-analysis of alcohol use and all-cause mortality

Funding body

Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction


The epidemiological literature on this topic is the basis of the so-called "J-shaped" curve used to promote the idea that alcohol uses moderation is associated with better health and longer life. We have published previous critical reviews on this topic. In this project, as an adjunct to the work assisting the development of Canada's new Guidance on Alcohol and Health, we updated our earlier reviews on this subject.

Progress to date

Our first paper from this project was published in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA Open) and received widespread national and international coverage. Once more the analysis suggests that the appearance of reduced mortality risk for low volume drinkers has been exaggerated as a result of bias created by study design. A second paper was presented at the annual symposium of the Kettil Bruun Society for Social and Epidemiological Research on Alcohol, Johannesburg, June 2023. This presented results for subgroups of high and low quality studies.