Is Moderate Drinking Good for You?

Is Moderate Drinking Good for You?

Have you seen media reports claiming that alcohol is good for you? It turns out that the studies that led to those headlines were severely distorted by poor sampling. Those studies linked all nondrinkers together and called them all “abstainers.” Some of them were recovered alcoholics who had quit drinking. Others were non-drinking substance abusers or those suffering from chronic illnesses. Meanwhile, the “moderate drinkers” in the study could include those who ate healthy and exercised. More balanced modern studies answer “Is moderate drinking good for you?” with a “NO!”

Based on more non-biased studies, by 2022, the World Heart Federation stated that alcohol did not protect people from cardiovascular diseases. The World Health Organization (WHO) has now stated that any amount of alcohol is dangerous. U.S. and Canadian authorities have lowered their definitions of “moderate-risk drinking.” A growing body of research says that any amount of alcohol raises the chance of premature death from various causes. Here is what is now known:

Half of all cases of liver disease are attributed to drinking.

Alcohol is a potent carcinogen because it breaks down in the body to form a compound called acetaldehyde, which damages DNA.

Fifteen percent of breast cancers are linked to alcohol.

In Europe, 50% of all cancers linked to alcohol are caused by “light” or “moderate” consumption.

The distressing thing about this is that young people are bombarded with messages and music glamorizing drinking. Television shows encourage drinking by showing a glamorous picture of people drinking alcohol. The health damage and risks from alcohol consumption are not presented to young people in any educationally sound manner.

Biblical teaching tells us that the body is the temple of God’s Spirit and must be cared for and protected (1 Corinthians 3:16). The Church should lead in education, especially with teens and young adults. So far, that has not happened, and the whole basis for not drinking is frequently lost in discussions about “moderation.” Is moderate drinking good for you? No, and beyond that, “There is no safe amount that does not affect health” (WHO).

— John N. Clayton © 2023

Reference: Scientific American for October 2023