Alcohol Has More Risk Than Benefit-Even 4 Moderate Drinkers

Studies like this are a counterbalance to the “studies” the local news eagerly reports that say your should consumer alcohol every day, should consume coffee, should consume chocolate, usually without disclosing the “study” was paid for by the industry producing the product the “study” urges people to consume.

This is Shiny-land, where pandering to confirmation bias trumps fact.

And the same goes for covid denialism. People don’t want to change the way they do things, so they embrace narratives that covid is a hoax, or no worse than a head cold, or can be easily eliminated with cheap, readily available, panaceas.

Steve

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Well, I’ve been off the sauce since just after Christmas 2018 …and was a light drinker before that. This is the opinion of a transplant hepatologist who lectures and writes on alcohol and the liver (among other things that put people in need of a new liver) Indeed, when we were first pregnant some 43 years ago, I tried announcing it by saying “No booze for me” when visiting friends. “We know” was the reply because that was the norm. Ended up having to say its outright.

Anyway, I decided…after wondering about all other “causes” for my paroxysmal afib…that alcohol might be a trigger. It’s commonly recognised as an issue with binge drinking (hence the nicknames Holiday Heart Syndrome/Saturday Night Arrhythmia) but not at the modest level I was used to. I’d noticed, though, on my Garmin that just one glass of wine of an evening bumped my resting heart rate up by about 10 bpm…and over 2 or 3 days after…so a response to the metabolites as well as the ethanol itself. Just one glass, remember. In the run up to that Christmas, we’d been to a few holiday bashes where, yes, I did have more than one glass and more frequently than a couple of times a week…with the result that over the Christmas I was flipping between Afib and sinus rhythm almost constantly.

Husband was still unconvinced that was the cause but after about a week being dry it stopped (never to return even without beta blockers now). I’ve followed a couple of cardiologists online for years and a few months after this, a study came up on one of their sites showing an increased incidence in even moderate drinkers so I was able to do a GOTCHA! with the husband.

So, like I said upstream, all the population level statistics in the World (or from the World) don’t help that much with risk assessment for the individual…quite the reverse for those bound and determined towards denialism.

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Since the day in 1963 when Minister of National Health and Welfare Judy LaMarsh declared in the House of Commons that smoking causes lung cancer, Canada has been among the world leaders in anti-smoking initiatives, including warning labels.

Sixty years later, experts are warning that alcohol is a cancer risk and its packaging should get similar treatment.

While the two stories are similar, people who have spent years studying or promoting anti-tobacco advocacy say alcohol labelling does not need to play out the same way — arduously and incrementally.

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I had a shrewd idea it wouldn’t be long before the silly comparison Gish Gallop started.

From your link to the World alcohol consumption, almost the opening paragraph contains the statistic that alcohol figures in 2.8 premature deaths worldwide every year. So, that would be premature and unnecessary since avoiding excess alcohol consumption would be the only change necessary to avoid these alcohol related deaths, right?

How hard would that be in comparison to your Silly False Equivalence list…avoiding air travel, heating the home, cooking food, euthanising the dog? Not very hard at all for most folk, I’d wager…and if it happened to be, then you probably can’t afford the denialism.

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I was on Matt Stoller anti-monoply substack webpage and ran across this tidbit:

For years, we’ve been told that while drinking too much is bad for your health, having just a glass of wine with dinner, as the French do, can be good for your heart. And many studies do indeed show such an association. But what we’re discovering is that this correlation is an illusion. In fact people who drink a small amount of wine every night are healthier, but only because it means they aren’t drinking soda. Even small amounts of alcohol are bad for you, but as academics are coming to understand, if you drink a glass of wine every evening, you also tend to exercise, eat fruits and vegetables, and refrain from smoking. And it is those habits, not the wine, that improve health.

This logical fallacy is known as confusing correlation with causation, or assuming that because A happened and then B happened, that A caused B. The media loves these kinds of associations, because they seem correct, but they are often just coincidence, or a result of a variable that’s not being observed. Sometimes correlations are silly, like saying that “there are more sick people at hospitals, therefore hospitals cause sickness.” They can even be ridiculous; one famous study found that shark attacks are common on beaches with more ice cream sales, the theory being that sharks like to eat people full of ice cream.

What do you think?

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Yep…red wine, olive oil, posh chocolate etc…all tend to be hyped without regard to other variables that might be at least partially responsible. Ben Goldacre has been taking on this sort of flim flam in his Bad Science column (available as a book too) for years…

No. The study said zero alcohol would be the way to avoid the risk.

At the same time the study at the top of the thread doesn’t change the number of alcohol related deaths (just what the authors consider a safe consumption level) and doesn’t point at future consequences any more dire than the present.

DB2

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Well. zero alcohol would be a sure fire way to avoid alcohol related disease, I guess. Probably overkill for most…but quite possibly a game changer for some.

To your point of dire future consequences vs. the present…don’t you find the present level of alcohol consumption problematic or dire enough? Or do you really not accept that it’s a problem (your own situation/personal experience notwithstanding)

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It could be the socialistical French health care system serves it’s customers better than the Shiny system, maybe better enough to override the alky consumption.

Maybe it’s the shorter French workweek.

Maybe it’s the younger French retirement age.

Steve

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I agree, but that wasn’t the thrust of the OP.

Sure it has risks. So does driving, smoking pot and taking baths, but I don’t have any plans to stop any of those activities. The Prohibition era showed us the dire consequences of trying to impose zero alcohol consumption, and I strongly suspect the world is never going to voluntarily go to zero consumption so it is a moot point (which we are mooting now).

I don’t think overall that alcohol consumption is a bad thing with dire consequences; rather it is something that has both positives and negatives.

DB2

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