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posted by n1 on Thursday August 28 2014, @06:44PM   Printer-friendly
from the starting-the-weekend-early dept.

An article by Stanton Peele makes the case that there is strong evidence that reasonable levels of drinking are healthy, and if fact beneficial to your health compared with abstinence.

For all levels of drinking, including the highest one, for both men and women, death rates did not reach those for abstainers.

[...] Of course, abstainers may not drink because they are already ill. Thus the meta-analysis relied on studies that eliminated subjects who are abstaining due to illness, or else contrast drinkers with lifetime abstainers.

There isn't a list of references in the article, but this study may be one of the supporting ones: Alcohol Dosing and Total Mortality in Men and Women: An Updated Meta-analysis of 34 Prospective Studies.

There are, no doubt, reasonable criticisms that can be made, but there does seem to be a case for saying that drinking some alcohol is beneficial.

Article also published in: Pacific Standard Magazine

 
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  • (Score: 2) by bzipitidoo on Thursday August 28 2014, @06:51PM

    by bzipitidoo (4388) on Thursday August 28 2014, @06:51PM (#86861) Journal

    I've always been skeptical of claims that drinking small quantities of alcohol is healthy. The wine industry always seems to be backing studies that show wine is healthy. Sometimes beer companies chime in with a health claim or two about beer. And while I think there's something to that, I wonder. Is it the grapes that make wine healthy, not the alcohol? Is grape juice healthier than wine?

    If grape juice is healthier, then what about eating grapes and drinking water? Might that be even healthier? The big problem with fruit juice is it removes all the fiber that was in the fruit and leaves only the sugars, water, and some flavoring. Far better to have an orange with water than to have orange juice.

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  • (Score: 5, Informative) by tathra on Thursday August 28 2014, @07:03PM

    by tathra (3367) on Thursday August 28 2014, @07:03PM (#86865)

    the concept is called hormesis [wikipedia.org], and while its been known about for a long time, its still not well understood, but it does generally imply that small doses of poison can be good for you . [huffingtonpost.com]

    • (Score: 4, Funny) by DECbot on Thursday August 28 2014, @07:10PM

      by DECbot (832) on Thursday August 28 2014, @07:10PM (#86867) Journal
      They were both poisoned. I spent the last few years building up an immunity to iocane powder.
      </Obligatory_pop_culture_reference>
      --
      cats~$ sudo chown -R us /home/base
      • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 28 2014, @07:15PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 28 2014, @07:15PM (#86872)

        This corn is raw!
        I know, isn't it wonderful? It's so crisp!
        Of course it's crisp! It's raw!
        No, it's terrific. You can just taste the Vitamin A and E in here. It's great.
        Could we have pills and *cook* the corn?

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 28 2014, @07:43PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 28 2014, @07:43PM (#86892)

          Um, you have to nixtamalize corn. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pellagra [wikipedia.org]

  • (Score: 2) by bob_super on Thursday August 28 2014, @07:17PM

    by bob_super (1357) on Thursday August 28 2014, @07:17PM (#86875)

    As a single datapoint, alcohol cause vasodilation, which helps blood flow. In many people, especially in fat-heavy modern societies, that may have a significant positive effect on health.

    Sure, you can also improve blood flow with aspirin, but alcohol has been found in over-ripened fruits for longer than apes have been doing agriculture (see the occasional drunk elephant story), making me conjecture that we probably developed the capacity to process small quantities with minimal harm.

    Other elements naturally found in wine are also conjectured to help given our growing reliance on over-processed foods. Would the same amount of grape or grape juice produce the same benefits? Probably, if you can convince people to eat or drink the right amount when there is no alcohol.

    • (Score: 3, Funny) by DaTrueDave on Thursday August 28 2014, @07:28PM

      by DaTrueDave (3144) on Thursday August 28 2014, @07:28PM (#86883)

      Heh... You reminded me of this scene from a funny old documentary. All the animals have spent the day gorging themselves on warm, slightly fermented Marula fruit, which then ferments a bit more in their bellies. Funny results: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=opLbm0Ldl1k [youtube.com]

      And, having been to Africa a few times, I'll attest to the delicious potency of Marula liquor. You can try it without going to Africa by trying a bottle of Amarula next time you're in a liquor store. Creamy, fruity alcoholic greatness. Goes great on ice cream or in shakes.

      • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Thursday August 28 2014, @10:51PM

        by FatPhil (863) <pc-soylentNO@SPAMasdf.fi> on Thursday August 28 2014, @10:51PM (#86957) Homepage
        You've earnt all my moderation points just for that youtube link! I haven't laughed so much for ages. My g/f and I were mostly in agreement over which ones were me, and which ones were her!
        --
        Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people; the smallest discuss themselves
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 29 2014, @09:09AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 29 2014, @09:09AM (#87103)

        C'thulu's at 4:33!

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by khallow on Thursday August 28 2014, @08:38PM

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday August 28 2014, @08:38PM (#86908) Journal

      Other elements naturally found in wine are also conjectured to help given our growing reliance on over-processed foods.

      So why isn't wine itself considered one of the oldest processed foods out there? (Well, aside perhaps from considering beverages as not being foods.) It is pretty heavily processed after all.

      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by bob_super on Thursday August 28 2014, @08:46PM

        by bob_super (1357) on Thursday August 28 2014, @08:46PM (#86913)

        I think it's the distinction between "I've harvested stuff, let me crush, mix, filter, ferment it" and "Yeah, food manufacturing takes way too long and costs too much, can I build something that looks the same using half the recipe, plus corn syrup, some derivative of crude oil, artificial colors and cellulose?"

        Both are an exaggeration, but the extreme cases that make it in the media (and clever Wine advertising) shape the perception.

      • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 29 2014, @08:29AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 29 2014, @08:29AM (#87092)

        From what I've heard, beer is even older. Indeed, some people even hypothesise that the production of beer was the original reason for humans to settle and do agriculture.

      • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 29 2014, @02:08PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 29 2014, @02:08PM (#87199)
        Olive oil and coconut oil are processed foods too, doesn't stop some paleo nuts from considering them "paleo". But given that most don't eat insects and their grubs, I doubt they are really serious in following a real paleo diet ;).
  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by DeathMonkey on Thursday August 28 2014, @07:29PM

    by DeathMonkey (1380) on Thursday August 28 2014, @07:29PM (#86885) Journal

    I've always been skeptical of claims that drinking small quantities of alcohol is healthy. The wine industry always seems to be backing studies that show wine is healthy. Sometimes beer companies chime in with a health claim or two about beer. And while I think there's something to that, I wonder. Is it the grapes that make wine healthy, not the alcohol? Is grape juice healthier than wine?

     
    Somewhat addressed by the article:
     
      Resveratrol. Don’t get me started on resveratrol, a supplement based on an antioxidant found in the skin of red grapes which, in early studies done in test tubes and with animals, was proposed to account for the heart-healthy benefits of wine. I identified this claim as bullshit from the start. It was simply a way to avoid recognizing that alcohol is good for you by claiming instead that alcohol’s benefits are due to some other ingredient. I was thus beside myself when research conducted at Johns Hopkins finding that resveratrol has no significant impact on lifespan or heart disease, led to nonsequitur headlines like this one: “Sorry! Red Wine isn’t good for you after all.” (It was never red wine to start with, but beverage alcohol!)

  • (Score: 3, Informative) by TheLink on Friday August 29 2014, @02:34PM

    by TheLink (332) on Friday August 29 2014, @02:34PM (#87207) Journal