Class Warfare Blog

August 25, 2018

Even More Bullshit on Alcohol

Filed under: Culture,Reason,Science — Steve Ruis @ 10:15 am
Tags: , ,

I begin with excerpts from an online post:

“Even the occasional drink is harmful to health, according to the largest and most detailed research carried out on the effects of alcohol, which suggests governments should think of advising people to abstain completely.

“The uncompromising message comes from the authors of the Global Burden of Diseases study, a rolling project based at the University of Washington, in Seattle, which produces the most comprehensive data on the causes of illness and death in the world.

“Alcohol, says their report published in the Lancet medical journal, led to 2.8 million deaths in 2016. It was the leading risk factor for premature mortality and disability in the 15 to 49 age group, accounting for 20% of deaths.

“Current alcohol drinking habits pose “dire ramifications for future population health in the absence of policy action today”, says the paper. “Alcohol use contributes to health loss from many causes and exacts its toll across the lifespan, particularly among men.”

“Most national guidelines suggest there are health benefits to one or two glasses of wine or beer a day, they say. “Our results show that the safest level of drinking is none.”

“The study was carried out by researchers at the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), who investigated levels of alcohol consumption and health effects in 195 countries between 1990 to 2016. They used data from 694 studies to work out how common drinking was and from 592 studies including 28 million people worldwide to work out the health risks.

“Moderate drinking has been condoned for years on the assumption that there are some health benefits. A glass of red wine a day has long been said to be good for the heart. But although the researchers did find low levels of drinking offered some protection from heart disease, and possibly from diabetes and stroke, the benefits were far outweighed by alcohol’s harmful effects, they said.”

Leave it to the wankers who did this study that they only considered the health benefits of imbibing. Do you know anyone who drinks for the health benefits? Anyone? I can’t imagine there is one, let alone enough to study.

Imagine a study regarding automobiles. So many people get injured and maimed every year in car accidents. People spend so much time traveling to work that productivity losses are huge. And sitting in a car for extended time periods is bad as sitting is bad, bad, bad. So, the only safe number of cars is zero.

Studies that look at negative effects of anything can create a graph showing that the more people who do that thing, the more damage there is and to lower the damage to zero, you have to lower the participation to zero. But cost-benefit analyses are designed to find a sweet spot where the costs are low and benefits high, a point of compromise, as it were.

Knives! So many people get cut or get stabbed and even die every year! “Our results show that the safest level of cutting is none.”

How about some consideration of, oh I don’t know, people maybe, with regard to how much pleasure moderate drinking brings to our lives. The moderate amounts of anxiety reduction, the loosening of some inhibitions, the warm feeling a good pint provides, or a glass of really good Sangiovese? Huh? How about some consideration of “we the fucking people want to drink”? I agree that drinking to excess is a problem and needs to be addressed, but not with a throwing the baby out with the bath water recommendation.

Did they learn nothing from the American experiment in Prohibition? I wonder what they would have come up if they had studied food? Do you know how many people develop diseases due to bad eating habits. People die from diabetes and related diseases due to poor dietary habits. Would they have come up with “the safest level of eating is none?”

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35 Comments »

  1. This is a very important study that addresses whether or not alcohol is a physically harmful substance. Guess what? It is.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by tildeb — August 25, 2018 @ 10:58 am | Reply

    • And your point is? Many things we eat are harmful: sugary soft drinks, fugu, well marbled red meat, etc. Most vegetables are toxic to some extent until they are cooked. The question is always: do the benefits outweigh the negatives? In a world where we are being turned into wage slaves/drones, we are supposed to give up small pleasures because, if abused, over years and years, there may be a problem? One could say that about dangerous jobs.

      Like

      Comment by Steve Ruis — August 25, 2018 @ 11:51 am | Reply

      • My point is that what’s true matters. When we don’t take facts like this into account but, instead, moralize its use, we are no longer respecting that what’s true matters. And what’s true is that alcohol is not ‘good’ for you but that this alone is no reason not to use it! As you quite rightly say, and do many others, the health benefits are not the whole story but part of it.

        The problem is twofold, as I see it: when people do not respect what’s true but substitute either/and or lies as if equivalent or smear the product with a moral blanket as if this is the only way to view the product. One should not be able to say without challenge this idea that some alcohol provides direct health benefits. No. That’s not true. There may be some other benefits related to other effects alcohol produces but these kinds of claims need to be honest. Alcohol is a physically harmful substance. That’s one part of the problem.

        The other part of the problem is this moral aspect. What should become apparent is that if we use the same singular approach and reasoning with alcohol as we currently ‘enjoy’ under the umbrella of state sponsored punitive measures against, say, tobacco then it should demonized, taxed into oblivion, and constrained by means of making its purchase as difficult as possible for as few as possible under a highly regulated stranglehold of the entire industry in the name of ‘protecting’ children. Its use should be banned from TV and movies. There should be laws against any health-related activities or events being sponsored by these terrible alcohol companies and we should be taught in school programs to think very poorly of anyone who uses such a ‘bad’ product and those who produce it to be evil – especially those who profit from its sales! Let’s show some consistency here, people! Otherwise, sit back and enjoy the vastness of hypocrisy we are about to be shown and put on display for our deep amusement.

        Liked by 3 people

        Comment by tildeb — August 25, 2018 @ 12:12 pm | Reply

        • As always we agree more than not. I was harpooning (or trying to) not their findings, but their recommendations. I have no problem with their findings, but statements such as *“Our results show that the safest level of drinking is none.” *Of course one can say that, it is true for driving, flying, cutting vegetables, and raising teenagers as well, but what say that? Do they feel their recommendation is conclusive? If conclusive, why are there so many disparate findings/studies?

          I committed my professional career to “rational decision making” and while that is no longer in vogue, I am still committed to it. To that end I have advocate eliminating almost all recreational drugs and rep[lacing them with safer, non-abusable drugs. I just do not see how we can get people to give up getting a buzz on. That cat is out of the bag. There are no such drugs right now, but we also have not looked for them. (Non-abusable is something I define that if you OD, you get a buzz kill and nothing more, so a good time is based upon accurate dosing.)

          Shifting away from dangerous drugs to safer alternatives is something I am 100% for.

          On Sat, Aug 25, 2018 at 12:12 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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          Liked by 1 person

          Comment by Steve Ruis — August 25, 2018 @ 12:22 pm | Reply

  2. If it weren’t for wine, no mountains would ever have been climbed, no rivers crossed, no songs written, and no babies would ever have been made.

    Liked by 5 people

    Comment by john zande — August 25, 2018 @ 11:26 am | Reply

    • Or more babies would have been made if not for a potential parent being preoccupied by drinking wine.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by List of X — August 29, 2018 @ 10:59 pm | Reply

    • Are we too afraid or unadventurous without the support of alcohol to live our lives and do these things?

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      Comment by Matters of Living — September 19, 2018 @ 6:05 pm | Reply

      • I do not think “afraid” enters the equation for most folks. I am currently abstaining from alcohol just because I can. I first did it in recognition that alcohol can take over people’s lives but now I just do it. Same with food and any number of other things. Fear is not my motivation. Just checking in with my baseline. And decisions made under the influence of alcohol are often met the next day with “What was I thinking?” so adventurous is probably not involved, either. People experience a lowering of inhibitions and this allows them to test their own boundaries, which of course when done to excess greats regrettable experiences.

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        Comment by Steve Ruis — September 20, 2018 @ 10:20 am | Reply

  3. How bout we just regulate every little pleasure and become fn miserable.

    Liked by 3 people

    Comment by jim- — August 25, 2018 @ 12:20 pm | Reply

    • It starts with a diet in which if you enjoy the taste of the food, you spit it out. (Obviously we agree.)

      On Sat, Aug 25, 2018 at 12:20 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Steve Ruis — August 25, 2018 @ 12:23 pm | Reply

  4. I actually caught part of this interview on NPR yesterday in my car. They women talking even said no one was going to give up alcohol because of this study and that the results had some problematic ways of deciphering the results. She even said something about for a man two glasses of alcohol (5oz. each) a day and for a women one glass. It wasn’t set in stone.

    Don’t think I’ll be giving up my wine or margaritas anytime soon. Nor chocolate, coffee,occasional fries and a ice cream. Life’s pleasures certainly count for something in the grand scheme of things. I’ll gladly give up a few years to be happy and content, as I feel light drinking with friends adds a social benefit and comradeship that is also a measurable plus to aging well as we go along in life.

    Like

    Comment by maryplumbago — August 25, 2018 @ 2:27 pm | Reply

    • This — Life’s pleasures certainly count for something in the grand scheme of things. — sums it up well in my estimation.

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      Comment by Nan — August 25, 2018 @ 3:04 pm | Reply

      • D’accord! Wise as always, Nan!

        On Sat, Aug 25, 2018 at 3:05 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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        Liked by 1 person

        Comment by Steve Ruis — August 26, 2018 @ 10:10 am | Reply

    • I am constantly reminded of all of the things we were told were bad for us: salt, butter, etc. Most of which were either wrong or the substitutes were worse.

      On Sat, Aug 25, 2018 at 2:27 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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      Liked by 2 people

      Comment by Steve Ruis — August 26, 2018 @ 10:05 am | Reply

  5. To me reasonable drinking g, or moderate drinking would a drink on the weekend or a drink with a friend or st a party or other occasion.

    I din’t eat chocolate cake and ice creame every day but I do at birthday parties, and I have a big family, that is more cake than you might think.

    I like to use alcohol the same way.

    Like

    Comment by Old Guy — August 25, 2018 @ 3:02 pm | Reply

    • Yeah, but if you didn’t you might live an extra week! ;o)

      Obviously, if some one gets dead drunk and decides to go for a drive to sober up, and ends up dead, he didn’t die of alcohol, but poor judgment. Alcohol can affect judgement, but really stupid decision making comes only from really stupid quantities of alcohol.

      In my family all of the kids were taught about drinking. We all received tiny glasses of wine when wine was served at dinner (not at all common). I remember the taste (Awful!) and I got all of the way through college (SF State in the 1960’s!) without drinking as it was not something forbidden to me. Too many kids get in over their heads with both drugs and alcohol due to youthful rebellion.

      On Sat, Aug 25, 2018 at 3:02 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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      Comment by Steve Ruis — August 26, 2018 @ 10:09 am | Reply

      • I saw that in college also. Freshmen who had never had a drink getting really wasted.
        I drank a lot in my twenties. I stopped for twenty years. I figured I had used up all my allotted amount early. That’s is what I told people anyway. I really stopped for health issues I finally got over.
        Now I take Prozac and if I drink much all it gives me a headache instead of a quiet relaxing buzz.

        Like

        Comment by Old Guy — August 26, 2018 @ 11:16 am | Reply

        • Another reason to not take Prozac. My partner went on it and immediately felt better. Then she went off it and got a dog. No more problem. Aren’t we strange beings?

          On Sun, Aug 26, 2018 at 11:16 AM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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          Liked by 1 person

          Comment by Steve Ruis — August 26, 2018 @ 11:27 am | Reply

  6. As a heavy drinker who functions fairly well in the world, I find the conclusions drawn from the study fairly imbecilic. If I were told I can live the way I do and that means I’ll die in the next decade or I can stop enjoying everything I enjoy and live another three decades – I know which one I’d choose. The idea that living longer is always the best option is incredibly simplistic.

    Liked by 2 people

    Comment by The Pink Agendist — August 26, 2018 @ 4:01 pm | Reply

    • Especially when the years tacked on are at the end! If I could get more years as a 50-year old then that might be something I would consider. I didn’t start drinking until I was in my early 20s. Since I retired I am making up for my late start. Every once in a while I give up drinking for a month, just to prove I can, but also to see if my life is improved, etc. So, far I will stick with the pleasure drinking gives.

      On Sun, Aug 26, 2018 at 4:02 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Steve Ruis — August 27, 2018 @ 11:00 am | Reply

      • In my whatever-it’s-worth opinion, moderation drinking is the key. But too often, the effects of alcohol seem to overcome any thoughts of same … and that’s when the problems begin.

        I personally enjoy A glass of wine most every evening. Occasionally on a night out, a glass or two of champagne … or sometimes a mixed drink. This is mostly because at my age since I’ve found my body doesn’t tolerate liquor very well anymore. Besides, I pretty much got the “excessive” drinking out of my system in my younger (single) days. 😉

        Question — do you know if statistics show that males continue drinking throughout most of their life as opposed to women’s consumption?

        Like

        Comment by Nan — August 27, 2018 @ 11:34 am | Reply

        • I can’t answer your question but maybe some others can. The report indicated that men were more at risk via alcohol use, but then men are more at risk from risk taking. I wonder if they compared drinking men against teetotaling men? If they compared men against women, you would really need to unpack that.

          The fact that you have moderated your drinking based upon the effects you observe is proof enough that you are a responsible drinker. Maybe that should be our definition of responsible drinking. I just think any drive to legislate irresponsibility is doomed to curtail too much of our freedoms to be worth attempting (e.g. see Prohibition). I put my hopes in education but that hope was at least misplaced if not very overly optimistic.

          On Mon, Aug 27, 2018 at 11:34 AM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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          Comment by Steve Ruis — August 27, 2018 @ 12:31 pm | Reply

          • Educating like we do with tobacco products?

            Like

            Comment by tildeb — August 27, 2018 @ 1:22 pm | Reply

            • I was referring to rational decision making, but I wonder how effective even the tobacco programs have been. The demise of Joe Camel and other advertising has slowed the growth of smoking. The diminishment of the number of smokers is another cause of there being fewer smokers. Of course, the ban of smoking in public spaces has helped, too. We have banned in a number of state the overindulgence in alcohol. In my home state (CA) if some leaves a bar drunk and gets into a car accident, the bartender gets arrested. More lushes are now being cut off in bars. But smoking has not been banned, just socially shunned into a much smaller population.

              On Mon, Aug 27, 2018 at 1:22 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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              Comment by Steve Ruis — August 27, 2018 @ 1:54 pm | Reply

              • I make the comparison because tobacco is vilified as immoral in public school curriculum to the great cheering of those who assume it is. The reason offered to justify this approach is usually based on the fact that the use of the product is harmful to one’s health. On board this morality train are most medical associations, health group advocates, governments, along with stringent and punitive anti-smoking policies.

                How very righteous.

                Now, the issue as I see it is that the same reasoning can be and, according to so many anti-smoking righteous people regarding tobacco, should be applied with the same stringent and punitive vigor to alcohol because the justification is identical. Bad for one’s health, donchaknow.

                So, are we now going to see this same righteousness applied to alcohol consumption, a case-closed public policy to now vilify and make immoral alcohol… starting with young school age children? Are you on board?

                Like

                Comment by tildeb — August 27, 2018 @ 3:56 pm | Reply

                • We tried it and it did not work. And I am loathe to say the jury is in on alcohol. People confined to bed long term who cannot eat often get an alcohol drip rather than a glucose drip because there a fewer side effects. As doctors say about any drug (alcohol is both a food and a drug) the dose is the thing (the dose makes the poison, etc.)..

                  On Mon, Aug 27, 2018 at 3:56 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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                  Comment by Steve Ruis — August 28, 2018 @ 8:36 am | Reply

                  • The same is true for nicotine, in that it has very real health and productivity benefits (specifically as a neurological suppressor of Tourette’s bursts and other neurological conditions as well as correlated to high sedentary productivity. Think of writing, for example. But that hasn’t stopped the morality train from a general vilification of those who use the product as if immoral to do so. This is also included in the indoctrination of children through public curriculum that smoking is evil, that the smoke is poisonous, that those who smoke are of highly questionable and weak character. What I’m wondering is if people who take this moral stance against smoking will be consistent in their reasoning and vilify anyone who dares to consume alcohol, if they’ll advocate for indoctrinating children that drinking alcohol is evil, that alcohol is poisonous, that those who consume alcohol are of highly questionable and weak character.

                    I suspect we will find nothing but hypocrisy here, a very obvious double standard, with people still on board the morality train against tobacco but full of rationalizations to be tolerant and accepting of alcohol.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    Comment by tildeb — August 28, 2018 @ 10:08 am | Reply

                    • I can’t disagree as I suspect you are right. We constantly are trying to come up with labels for the “age” we are in, maybe since we have elevated hypocrisy above all else, we should name this The Age of Hypocrisy?

                      On Tue, Aug 28, 2018 at 10:08 AM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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                      Comment by Steve Ruis — August 28, 2018 @ 11:48 am

                    • It’s a deplorable tactic (to get the power of the state to produce policies and procedures favourable to enforcing some ideology) that I think needs higher exposure, namely, presenting issues as if they were moral issues rather than what they actually are, and then using only selected facts to justify some heavy-handed response to it.

                      For example, abortion is immoral because it is murder, because it is really means to increase promiscuity by using the service as a birth control method, immoral because it is used to cover billions of public dollars funneled through Planned Parenthood which is really doing medical research on aborted fetuses, immoral because it gives PP and those immoral people who work for it more political clout against the Right, immoral because the service is correlated to an elevated risk of breast cancer, and so on and so forth. What gets lost in all this morality noise is the proper categorization of the issue: in the case of abortion, as a medical procedure central to women’s healthcare. Claiming this moral approach is a means to excuse actually looking at the issue straight up and personally and then deciding if state power is really necessary to address it appropriately.

                      For example, having someone speak contrary to the post modern narrative is immoral because words suddenly become synonymous with violence against some ‘group’ of ‘victimized’ people.

                      For example, publicly admitting to supporting conservative candidates is now widely considered immoral. Hell, standing up for free speech and free assembly is fast approaching the moral argument that it is hateful to dare to do so.(And we wonder why Trump’s approaching victory back during the run up to the election went undetected in almost all polling).

                      The interesting thing here has to do with the Abilene paradox and how people get swayed into supporting that which they don’t really want for reasons unrelated to the issue at hand. The paradox isn’t revealed until someone actually dares to stand up on principle and publicly do so, risdking the wrath of those who will slap on the ‘intolerant’, ‘racist’, ‘bigot’ label at the drop of a hat. For bloggers like you, I think this standing up is actually a very important contribution for everyone to have the opportunity to see and hear ideas that are NOT tailored to ‘go along to get along’.

                      I point out the hypocrisy between the reasons to support, say, the ban on tobacco sponsorship and advertising with exactly the same reasons to ban alcohol sponsorship of the same because it is the hypocrisy that reveals this moral tactic even inside one’s head hard at work. That’s a clue that we need to pay more attention to our brains and less attention to our manipulated feelings.

                      Like

                      Comment by tildeb — August 28, 2018 @ 1:21 pm

                    • Actually “to get the power of the state to produce policies and procedures favourable to enforcing some ideology” is a reasonable power of states. Getting everyone on board avoiding the tyranny of the majority, the right of every citizen to be heard and vote, etc., etc. The problem is that this power is hijacked by a minority to control the majority. The Catholic Bishops in the US are dead set against abortion and artificial birth control, but 92% of Catholic women of childbearing age or older admit to using artificial birth control. So, the Catholic Bishops are using their power to get our government to enforce their ideology that they cannot enforce themselves.

                      There are legitimate uses of state power … and illegitimate uses and the price of liberty is still eternal vigilance.

                      The lines are, as you point out quite fine. Alcohol has some food value, while tobacco smoking does not. How fine we want to make these distinctions is debatable. I do not think there is any debate as to whether state power is appropriate to dictate, dictate I tell you(!), that we should all drive on the right side of the road in the U.S.!

                      On Tue, Aug 28, 2018 at 1:21 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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                      Comment by Steve Ruis — August 28, 2018 @ 2:23 pm

  7. Interesting. From a health perspective they might be right though, like it or not. But telling people to abstain completely is just silly. I like my occasional beer and sweet things. Will these have consequences for me? possibly. But I’m sure any enjoyment I gain will far outweigh the health consequences for me so I don’t care.

    Like

    Comment by TheCovertAtheist — August 28, 2018 @ 5:52 pm | Reply

  8. I think an analogy between safest level of usage wine and cars/knives isn’t very appropriate: unlike with cars and knives use, the public opinion on wine held that there is some level of wine usage that is more beneficial than none at all. No one would realistically think that there’s some amount of driving (or cutting things) that is safer than none at all.

    Like

    Comment by List of X — August 29, 2018 @ 11:10 pm | Reply

  9. As it is a myth about alcohols that they are harmful to health and addiction to alcohols would led to the destroyer of life so try to avoid these as they are beneficial to health as many diseases are improved by drinking this.

    Like

    Comment by italienische weine kaufen — September 13, 2018 @ 1:22 am | Reply

  10. Love this post mate. Couldn’t agree with you more.
    Cheers,
    Micky

    Like

    Comment by Micky Bumbar (Lords of the Drinks) — October 29, 2018 @ 5:53 pm | Reply


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