There’s no mistaking the trend, driven by poor science. Federal government resources are coming for your beer and my wine. The CDC says every little swallow adds risk to your life and health, but looked at more closely, how serious are these risks anyway?
More importantly, is it good science?
by David Stone
TheCenters of Disease Contol (CDC) says this:
“The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that adults of legal drinking age can choose not to drink, or to drink in moderation by limiting intake to 2 drinks or less in a day for men or 1 drink or less in a day for women, on days when alcohol is consumed.”
Is that scientifically sound or numbers they just pulled out of their – let’s say, hats? (PS: Never trust perfectly round numbers. Reality doesn’t work like that. It has rougher edges.)
These are comically foolish, but you see them floating everywhere.
In the Real World
My wife is roughly one-half my size, which lends a little – very little – credence to the CDC guidelines, but what if it was the other way around? If she was twice my size, would she still be stuck with just one drink while I enjoyed two?
Apparently, according to the CDC, yes. Sorry, girls, we guys win again.
And my friend Dave is a little guy, maybe 60% of my weight, but we share the same name and can have two drinks a day, according to the authorities.
You get the feeling that there’s a campaign against us enjoying anything because, honestly, there’s some risk in everything.
So, are the risks posed by moderate drinking really worth so much attention they land on the front page of so many newspapers? Are they the next big health threat that we’ll all be talking about? Or is it blown out of proportion and – clearly – poor science journalism?
Mainstream media is full of it, and some other examples.
Relax. If you’re drinking moderately, it turns out there’s no need to panic.
You might not think so by reading headlines like these from recent news stories:
- Drinking Alcohol Worsens Quality of Life for Women, Study Finds
- Just ONE alcoholic drink a day increases risk of breast cancer
- CDC: Drinking Excessive Amounts of Alcohol on the Rise in U.S.
Yes, those are all true statements taken from articles on moderately drinking more than 1 or 2 drinks a day – and here’s another.
- Drinking too much beer can also lead to violence – study
Taken together, it looks like the government might have a point.
But wait again. Consider this:
“During the year prior to one survey, 28.6% of men and 16.9% of women reported binge drinking and 8.7% of men and 3.6% of women reported heavy alcohol use.”
That’s from the same CDC study cited for this article, and if you’re good at math, you might have spotted something a little strange. Men drink more than women.
But surely not by that much… Yes, it’s pretty likely that the difference in drinking amounts between genders is the result of different body sizes and other factors, but that doesn’t mean it’s fair.
It’s kind of like saying “you can earn a million dollars this year if you’re lucky enough to be an investment banker” or “go ahead and enjoy life with your $20,000 paycheck – we’ll save the big bucks for the guys.”
It’s hard to argue that it doesn’t make a difference, considering the fact that men are also more likely than women to drink excessively and engage in risky drinking behavior. And yet, we’re still stuck with the same guidelines.
The Good News
But here’s the good news: moderate drinking actually has some health benefits like reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke. Not to mention, alcohol can also make social gatherings more fun and help you unwind after a long day of work.
So, let’s all raise our glasses – whether it’s beer or wine – and cheers to moderation. As for the government, maybe they should switch up their guidelines and come join us for happy hour instead. Just remember, no binge drinking is allowed!
That’s when the real trouble starts. So let’s all drink responsibly and enjoy our beer and wine without worrying about government restrictions.
After all, life is too short to not indulge in a little bit of the good stuff every now and then. Cheers!