Drinking Alcohol

Ok, so I may have worried a few people from my Tuesday post, or worse, completely ruined their enjoyment of drinking. For this I do apologise and I hope this post will provide some reprieve. You see I enjoy a drink as much as anyone, but it is important to know the facts – to have your eyes wide open. I drink beer because I like the taste, so knowing about where the calories from that beer are coming from means I can avoid having to force myself onto something as un-stomachable as vodka and soda out of some kind of misguided guilt driven health kick.

But calorie counts are quite a different thing from whether something is healthy. If you are active regularly and generally enjoy a healthy diet, then 2 or 3 drinks a few nights per week will not make you fat. BUT, will it be bad for your health? Luckily (and here’s the reprieve) a study has crunched the numbers on all of the studies out there about the health or ill health effects of alcohol and found that the risk of mortality from ANY CAUSE is actually less for those people who drink 2-3 standard drinks per day, compared to those who abstain altogether. It seems that in small doses alcohol actually helps several bodily processes which fight the onset of lifestyle disease.

So enjoy a regular drink and remember we are talking about alcohol in any form here – not red wine or some kind of tonic. If you’re a scotch person, then go ahead and enjoy that. But, some caveats:

  • Remember that “2-3 drinks” refer to standard drinks. You can very easily get 3 standard drinks out of a pint of Dutch beer.
  • This isn’t about averages – so if you drink 21 drinks on Friday night and nothing else during the week you most certainly are not reducing your health risk (you idiot).

up to 3 drinks a day

The study:
Ronksley Paul E, Brien Susan E, Turner Barbara J,Mukamal Kenneth J, Ghali William A. Association of alcohol consumption with selected cardiovascular disease outcomes: a systematic review and meta-analysis BMJ 2011; 342 :d671