Those who drink alcoholic beverages may want to rethink their drinking
in light of the many warnings about smaller amounts of alcohol use. The alcohol
industry and the media have portrayed one glass, even two glasses, of wine or
beer as not only safe, but possibly healthy. They tell the public that there is
only danger when the use of alcohol is excessive or abusive. Money, politics,
and a need to justify one’s own drug of choice, restricts and suppresses the
media coverage of the dangers when consuming light or moderate amounts of
alcohol. The Government’s silence in this matter is a by-product of massive
lobbying by the alcohol industry. The U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services tells us there is no level of drinking that is without risk, and these
risks begin to rise at relatively low levels of consumption.
May 1964, the AMA stated that it was not opposed to smoking and tobacco, and
published a brochure titled: "Smoking: Facts You Should Know,” warning of some
dangers from smoking, but the conclusion was, ‘smoke if you feel you should,
but be moderate.’ This advice has resulted in the illnesses and deaths of
untold millions of Americans. Actually, the dangers from smoking were known decades
ago, but this was not an important issue until the media picked up on the
deception and the public became more concerned. There was even a well-known
theory that if a person insisted on smoking, then they should also have an
alcoholic drink to dissolve the nicotine.
Some physicians, even when aware of the health risks from alcohol use,
hesitate to tell their patients to eliminate alcohol in their diets because
they may choose not to return for another appointment. Those who want to
continue using wine, beer, or liquor, can easily find another doctor who will
give them permission to ‘drink moderately.’
Beverage alcohol is a drug that suppresses the central nervous system,
like barbiturates, sedatives, and anesthetics. Alcohol is not a stimulant, even
though the person who drinks seems stimulated because the alcohol is affecting
portions of the brain that control judgment. It is a depression of
self-control, not a stimulant.
are constantly being bombarded with messages that promote alcohol as not only
socially acceptable but appropriate in all situations, thereby increasing both
the consumption and the mistaken belief that there are no consequences.
Researchers who report the positive studies of alcohol are often alcohol users
who tend to give biased reports, manipulating the figures to color the outcome
(as was done in the now disproved ‘French Paradox’). There are also reports in
the media that show alcohol as beneficial even when the researchers of the
study do not reach that conclusion. In addition, many negative studies showing
the risks of alcohol are basically ignored. There are very few health
professionals who carefully scrutinize the scientific or health related claims.
recommendation of no more than one alcoholic drink a day for a woman and two
for men was originally intended to encourage those who drank more to cut back,
not to set this up as a norm or an encouragement to increase consumption for
those who drink less or none at all. The widespread, indiscriminate promotion
of alcohol’s cardioprotective association is not because of the concern for
health, but to increase the sales of the alcohol industry.
Massachusetts Medical Society (1998) says the scientific jury is out on the
degree to which light and moderate amounts of alcohol may benefit the heart,
despite what the headlines may claim, moderate drinkers are more likely to
exercise, watch their diets, and get adequate sleep. Each of these may have an
independent and beneficial impact on heart disease. The supposed health
benefits of an alcoholic drink a day are substantially smaller than those
offered by exercise and eating right, and a 1997 study showed that the relative
effect of alcohol on disability was considerably larger than its effect on mortality.
brain is the organ most affected by alcohol. It only takes one drink to put
somep brain cells out of order, altering mood, cognition, and motor
performance, and the alcohol anesthetizes the brain for long after it leaves