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Alcohol: Actually Healthy For You?

Finally...
by Chase Harrison on Dec 29, 2010 in Culture
Alcohol: Actually Healthy For You?

We have all been told since a very early age that alcohol is a dangerous thing that is addictive and harmful if consumed too much or even at all. It has simply been considered “common knowledge” that anyone who drinks, smokes, and eats unhealthy foods will likely die at a younger age. Alcohol was even occasionally taught right alongside heroin and meth in middle school health classes. Even drinkers have often admitted that though they may suffer from health problems in the future, they will get more enjoyment out of their lives due, in part, to alcohol consumption. Thanks to a report made this year, however, it has become apparent that drinkers can not only enjoy their lives but also live longer while enjoying.


While we celebrate the end of the year, we look back at an important paper released in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research and featured in Time Magazine. An extension of the idea that drinkers are happier than non-drinkers, the study found that abstainers actually suffered higher mortality rates than heavy drinkers. Not surprisingly, moderate drinkers suffered the lowest mortality rates according to the research. The bombshell, of course, is the idea that abstaining from alcohol may not only be worse than moderate drinking but could even be worse than being a drunk. The study found an overwhelming 28% differential between those who drink moderately and those who abstain. The mortality differential between abstainers and heavy drinkers was a less astounding but still surprising 9%. These numbers are even more important because they boil the consequences down beyond health problems and straight to death rates. In the past, drinkers have simply defended their practices by citing the sociological positives of alcohol (which, of course, may have helped indirectly lead to the lower mortality rates, though it is impossible to say for sure). Suddenly we have the baffling idea that it is actually healthier to drink. Wild.


We still must be careful not to discount the importance of responsible drinking and the impairing effects and addicting qualities of alcohol. The study is also admittedly limited in scope and does not appear to account for which types of alcohol may be healthier than others. However, it is an important step in furthering the idea that limited drinking is not only a great time but is also rather healthy.

12.29.10
 

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