The benefits of moderate amounts of alcohol for a better health and longer life expectancy compared with abstinence have been suggested by the findings of numerous studies. However, controversies have emerged regarding the influence of confounding factors and the systematic errors that might have been inadvertently disregarded in the early studies. This review includes a description of the findings of those research studies published in the last 5 years on the effects of moderate alcohol consumption on all-cause mortality, CVD and inflammation, the immune system, insulin sensitivity, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and cancer. Promising evidences exist from both animal studies and human clinical trials regarding intermediate end-points of CHD and insulin sensitivity, such as HDL, adiponectin or fibrinogen. However, controversies and inconsistent findings exist regarding many of these diseases and related functions and biomarkers. Further research and human randomised-controlled trials with adequate standardisation of the study conditions are necessary in order to draw a comparison between studies, establish the causal effect of moderate alcohol intake on disease protection and reach consensus on the circumstances that allow the recommendation of moderate alcohol habitual intakes as a strategy for health maintenance.