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Wine will kill you — or not

Wine will kill you -- or notThe Wine Curmudgeon will periodically relax his long-time ban on wine-related health news on the blog to remind everyone why there is a ban on health news on the blog. Like when we’re told wine will kill you — or not:

A former World Health Organization official says “moderate drinking is better than abstaining and heavy drinking is worse than abstaining -– however the moderate amounts can be higher than the guidelines say,” as much as a bottle of wine a day.

A current World Health Organization officlal says half of new cancers over the next 20 years are preventable if people change their lifestyles, and that includes giving up drinking.

How are we supposed to make a decision given such contradictory opinions from two people who seem to have the same qualifications? It’s enough, if you don’t mind the bad joke, to drive one to drink.

Some of this, as noted before, is sloppy reporting. But some of it is the medical community, which often lumps drinking with tobacco as inherently evil — except when it doesn’t. Too many studies are either limited in scope or seem to pick and choose to fit the researcher’s agenda. Cases in point: The alcoholism rate in the U.S. is about 8 percent for adults, while it may be as high as 14 percent in Russia. And that a majority of alcohol-related deaths in the U.S. involve non-Latino whites, but that the highest death rates were among Native Americans and Alaska Natives. None of the numbers offers the demographic pattern for a one size fits all solution.

One day, perhaps, the medical community will figure this out. Until then, the ban remains.

  • Martin

    Hi

    You might like to ask New Zealand ( Waipara ) Pegasus Bay winery’s owner and founder , Ivan Donaldson, for a copy of his overview of the literature re alcohol and the evils / benefits of wine drinking.

    It is a review of as much of the literature as he could find and as a professor of neurology he not only has a good idea of what the issues are, he also applies a scholarly methodology to his review. Her also makes some of the best wines in New Zealand!

    Martin Gillion – ex publisher / editor of WineNZ magazine

    • http://winecurmudgeon.com Wine Curmudgeon

      We had a brief discussion on Twitter about this, Martin, and it is damned confusing — not because it should be, but because the medical community makes it confusing. That’s my objection, and has been since the landmark (and I’m being facetious) Italian study that said women who drink are more likely to have sex. That’s when I banned health news from the blog.

      This discussion should be about moderation in all things, that if I don’t drink too much wine or eat too much beef or run too many miles, I’ll get all the benefits of those things without the detriments — liver problems, heart disease, and busted up knees. How about a study that looks at that?

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