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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October 27, 2016

Good Science, Bad Science

This link is to a blog post that shows one aspect of our public health science that went wrong and is still not fixed (The Calorie Debacle). “Public science” is science mixed with politics. A very obvious example of this is the so-called “food pyramids” (USDA Nutrition Guides) we were shown as children. These were basic guides as to what to eat to be healthy. They were also heavily politicized by food industry lobbies. So, a governmental committee of scientists would come up with guidelines and then during a “review” stage bureaucrats would be pushed and shoved by lobbies to make changes, often substantial ones. An easy example is “dairy products.” No mammal “needs” dairy products after they have been weaned. But these nutrition guides always contained a substantial recommendation regarding the consumption of dairy products. Why? Well, the dairy industry was very powerful and the science was weak.usda_-_basic_7_food_groups

“The truth of the matter is we do not know what should be eaten to maintain good health.”

The truth of the matter is we do not know what should be eaten to maintain good health other than food recently prepared from fresh ingredients is generally healthier than processed foods. We also know that a wide variety of foods tends to be healthier than a very narrow diet (Morgan Spurlock’s movie Super Size Me being an example of what happens to someone who confines their diet).

We are primed to learn from stories and those of us who are overweight (including me) are attracted to quick weight loss schemes because they are: a) easy, and b) fast. They are also ineffective. These “schemes” are sold through the telling of stories. I am bombarded by Internet ads for weight loss schemes and they are larded (a carefully chosen word) with “before and after” photos of real people who have lost weight under the scheme. But the same is true for all of the other schemes and if they all “work” why is there an obesity epidemic? If you answer that “the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak” you are falling into the “blame the victim” trap. People were exercising more and eating according to the guidelines (less fat, more vegetables, etc.) like crazy as our body weights spiraled out of control. We are now starting to realize our errors and correct our mistakes, but standing in the way of more rapid progress are our “friends” in the food lobbies.

If you want a detailed source of what went wrong in the public health recommendations regarding diet, read “Good Calories, Bad Calories” by Gary Taube.

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