Is alcohol bad for you after all?

The Lancet has published a global study looking at alcohol consumption and the news for drinkers is not good.

Previous research indicated that alcohol consumption came with protective benefits and led to moderate drinkers living longer than non-drinkers.

However, this new paper that takes data from 195 countries over a 16 year period finds the opposite: all-cause mortality is correlated with increased alcohol consumption and in order to gain the most years of disability-free life, you should abstain from drinking.

Many people have reacted with a sarcastic “wow, putting poison into your body is a bad thing? Who knew?”

I think it is important to tackle such views because they are potentially dangerous. What someone suggesting when they say that is that they believe that the intuitive explanation should take precedence over what the evidence says.

Consider a parallel between vaccinations. An attenuated vaccine is a vaccine that uses a live strain of the disease. For example, when you have the MMR vaccine, you’re literally having a little bit of measles, mumps and rubella pumped into you. If you didn’t understand the science behind it you would say “it’s obviously a terrible idea to inject a disease into myself.” But, of course, every intelligent person now agrees that it is a good idea.

In this case, though, it would seem that the balance of harm from alcohol may outweigh the benefits. Good news for people like me who struggle to hit their alcohol consumption quota.

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, August 28th, 2018 at 11:00 am and is filed under Science. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.