The emerging picture that alcohol is bad for you

February 5, 2023 | By Jim Stovall | Filed in: journalism.

A slow, underground movement – well, maybe not underground, but slightly below the surface – is emerging, and many of the articles I have read lately that come to the conclusion that alcohol does you and me good.

First, there was the “dry January“ month that is now passed. People were urged to lay off alcohol for one month, in some cases just to see if they could do it, and in other cases to see how they felt.

Now, the research on alcohol consumption is coming to the conclusion that any alcohol consumption, whether moderate or light, is simply not good for you.

This article by Dana Smith in the Well section of the New York Times, lays out some of the information and research that has recently been done on alcohol consumption. While you can enjoy alcohol to some degree, you should understand the effects that it may have on your current health and your longevity.

One of the things that we’ve been told about alcohol for many years is that there is some evidence that red wine is good for your heart. But even low levels of drinking are likely to increase the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease, and, of course, that risk shoots up in a real way for those who drink excessively. Further:

Alcohol’s effect on the heart is confusing because some studies have claimed that small amounts of alcohol, particularly red wine, can be beneficial. Past research suggested that alcohol raises HDL, the “good” cholesterol, and that resveratrol, an antioxidant found in grapes (and red wine), has heart-protective properties.

However, said Mariann Piano, a professor of nursing at Vanderbilt University, “There’s been a lot of recent evidence that has really challenged the notion of any kind of what we call a cardio-protective or healthy effect of alcohol.”

Should you stop drinking alcohol altogether? Is this justification for a new era of prohibition?

Probably not the latter, at least. Laws against drinking alcohol, simply do not work, as America experienced in the 20th century. But, the New York Times article concludes starkly:

Generally, though, their (medical experts) advice is, “Drink less, live longer,” Dr. Naimi said. “That’s basically what it boils down to.”


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