T Nation

The benefits of Alcohol

There is an article in today’s New York times about the benefits of alcohol.
www.nytimes.com/2002/12/30/ health/30CND-HEAL.html
I am not sure if you need a to sign up to view it but if you do sign up as it is free. Anyway the article points to numerous studies that show amazing benefits to moderate alcohol consumption including cardiac benefits equal to an hour of daily exercise. I personally consume about one drink nightly with dinner. Is this small consumption really that negative to my physique goals or would most people in this forum consider it acceptable?

Alcohol is a toxic substance to our bodies. Some even say that all those cardiac benefits are of a purelly cosmetic nature, but evidence seems to suggest moderate comsumption to have some benefits.

They said “Thirty years of research has convinced many experts of the health benefits of moderate drinking for some people. A drink or two a day of wine, beer or liquor is, experts say, often the single best nonprescription way to prevent heart attacks ? better than a low-fat diet or weight loss, better even than vigorous exercise. Moderate drinking can help prevent strokes, amputated limbs and dementia.”

Followed by “Advertisement” in small letters, which makes me wonder. The food industry (or drug industry, in this case) is a very treacherous one whose tantacles spread very wide indeed.

Now, the claim that it’s better than exercise doesn’t even deserve to be adressed, in my opinion. These guys are pushing one of the most harmfull and most misery causing drugs as a good subsitute for an healthy lifestyle? Heroin makes you lose weight, as does cocaine. A low body weight is associated with a healthier life. Does this mean one should use these drugs in spite of them being “dangerous” substances? I don’t think so.

Better than a low fat diet. Well, what isn’t?

This is what I call a pure infomercial.

Just my opinion…

Wow, the US really likes to support its bad habits.

There are so many other good choices to promote, but it is so easy to advertise something that people already like to do.

Bottom line - Don't drink it for health. Now, the rare beer or glass of wine that you drink because you like it is ok, but nothing more.

I agree with Restless, the food industry is notorius for using these “studies” for pushing their products. The quickest way to boost sales of your particular product is to push its health benefits.

One recent related example of this is Knudsen’s cottage cheese. In a tv ad, there is a sexy woman wearing only a shirt, you can see her legs and they are really hot. She goes to the fridge and gets a container of cottage cheese and the commerical says something like “when cottage cheese thighs are a good thing.” Okay but when I looked at the ingredients of Knudsen’s cottage cheese it was LOADED with preservatives and all sorts of other CRAP.

I’d say for you personally 1 drink a night is not going to do much harm, we all have some thing in our diets that isn’t perfect.

But I think that study is a load of BS. Usually one of these studies comes out once a week, it’s a tired old cycle.

Hmmm then it sure doesn’t sound much different to the supplement industry to me.

I think it was Buddha that said “nothing in excess”. Good words to live by. That also includes stuff that is good for ya.

I will try to get the actual study, but a friend of mine did her PhD work in chemistry on the health benefits of red wine. In her tests red wine was the only alcohol that had the benefits, not liquor or even white wine. According to her research, there is a chemical in red wine that affects how the body processes the fats in the food that is consumed with the wine and hinders absorption. I will try to get her exact research numbers.

Excellent points indeed, MR.

My thinking with the red wine is that the magic comes from the grapes, and not the alcohol…

To echo MR in an oblique kind of way, as Ben Franklin waxed, “eat not to fullness, drink not to elevation.” Listen to the ol’ postmaster general.

Actually, it comes from the tannins released from the red grape skins which are left in the mash to ferment - giving the wine it’s red color. Most white wines are made from red grapes but the skins are removed. Grape juice does not have the same chemicals.

The reason why red wine is ok in moderation is because of the red pigmentation from the grape.
you can acheive the same benifits from plain ole grape juice, but where’s the fun in that?

I do believe the effects can be from either grape juice or red wine. the grapes being the integral part. I think this is the same reason grapeseed extract is a good antioxidant.

The benefit of red wine is NOT solely from the various flavinoids like reservatrol (sp?). The main benefit is from alcohol. Years of research revealed that the benefits of moderate drinking can be obtained by drinking any alcohol–including beer and hard liquor. Various studies trying to link good health of wine drinkers to their fastidious health habits–the theory being that the typical wine drinker takes care of his body better than a Miller Highlife man. That study also failed to make the connection. Bottom line, you cannot get the same benefit of wine by drinking grape juice.

Hmmmm. I guess I stand corrected. :frowning:

Even if there are some small health benefits to drinking in moderation, the studies also say there is no point in beginning to drink if you don’t anyway. You can get the same health benefits from eating properly and exercising.

I think that the idea that drinking (red wine, or other alcohol) is good for your health was started quite a while ago by Dr Cooper (of aerobics ‘fame’) influenced doctors. I remember from a high school health class mention of a study (I do not know which one, I was in high school seven years ago) that showed the red wine was good for you. The main reasoning behind their contention was how healthy the french people are, when compared to Americans, in spite of their diet, which is high in meat and dairy fats, as well as high in ‘evil’ protein, and low in carbs. The place where I think most of these articles miss the boat is by focusing on wine consumption as the only variable, without looking at the fact that Americans eat highly processed foods, where as most Europeans eat whole, natural foods. Assuming two diets of equal cals and macronutrients, if one is full of McD’s and pasta-roni and one is full of apples and fresh, free range eggs, plus some wine, it is unlikely that the wine is the cause of the better health. I hope that makes sense.

Dainon, the evidence for alcohol have beneficial effects is much more than a casual observation that Europeans seem to drink more wine and are therefore less prone to coronary artery disease. There are studies out there that have nothing to do with nationality or culture and show similar findings.

if you dont want to compete as a BB er, you might do well with a glass of red wine a day. this is what dr dipasquale does, in addition to the aforementioned diet and excercise

Back in the '82 or ‘83 I read about a WWI solders, I believe some were French, who walked with-out any food 100’s of miles trough Greece after loosing a battle. Most of them died but the few who survived were all from the areas that were known for their (red) wine. Someone did research about it back in the 1920’. I wander if anyone on this board knows more about it.

How do you drink in moderation? I know I never could.