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Tibor V. Varga

PhD student, Lund University

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Do you think alcohol can be healthy?

Dietitians and nutritionists often say "a small glass of red wine a day is beneficial for your health".

Do you agree?

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    Jan 19 2012: It appears to be that red wine contains a substance which is good to stay healthy but to have any effect you need a dosis that represents 5 l of wine a day and that in turn isn't healthy at all.
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      Jan 19 2012: EXACTLY!

      Why advertising red wine with so big efforts when we can get the same amount of resveratrol from red grape juice for the same price (or even cheaper) without even the slightest debate of health risks...
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    Jan 19 2012: Yes, it turns out that the idolized antioxidants are in the red wine in deed, but in a ridiculously low amount..
    On the other hand red wine contains alcohol - what a surprise!
    So let's count what happens if you sip a little red wine at every dinner. Let's say one glass of wine is 2 dl. An average alcohol V/V% of red wine is around 13, but let's count with 10 V/V% for the sake of simplicity. That means you drink 2 cl ethanol every day. In one year that's 7,3 liters. In 10 years it's 73 liters of pure ethanol. (correct me if I am wrong here)
    This amount surely leads to liver failure on a long run, and nutritionists keep advising that a glass of wine every day is beneficial for health. I think that's a giant BS, what's more - it is dangerous and irresponsible.

    I don't say that once in a while, if you drink a glass or more you'll die because of liver failure. I only say that if it's a habit (and this leads to addiction, of course) which is furthermore claimed healthy by a "professional" - I cannot believe it won't be harmful for you.

    You need to enjoy life though... I agree on that with Jamie, and having beers with friends and sipping a little red wine or a whiskey after dinner can be OK (even though I consider these highly unhealthy as I mentioned), sometimes there mental health can overwrite some physical issues.
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    Jan 19 2012: I had felt better about drinking red wine because I thought it helped my heart. Lo and behold, unlikely! "Health benefits of red wine purely commercial, new study says." I heard this news in just the last month or so from different sources. A fraudulent scientist . . . so sad.

    Relatively speaking, I do think the effects of alcohol outweigh the downside of stress though ideally speaking, dealing with stress without alcohol is preferred.
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    Jan 19 2012: I do not like alcohol as something which helps us communicate, as Jamie Barnes stated. That is mostly the truth, but I believe it's quite a problem, because it's simply a 'tradition' to use alcohol for social 'interaction' and some people do not even imagine a party or something like this without alcohol. I really see it silly the need of glasses of beer in a friend meeting, for example.
    About a small glass of red wine, I heard various opinions, I heard there was a book published in France probably, about the benefits of wine, the author wrote if she knew how wine is healthy she would start drinking it earlier, but the book was banned or something, because it propagates alcohol. Sorry, I know nothing exact about the book.
    I would not agree with drinking alcohol EVERYDAY, but if the one believes wine is healthy, several times a week is good, to my view.
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    Jan 19 2012: From a Non-Nutritional but overall physiological sense, I'd say Yes...

    Alcohol is often the 'social lubricant' that allows people to relax, unwind, and enjoy the virtues of company. This is very important from a physiological sense, since it’s almost a de-stress like treatment (When used in moderation of course).

    Having said that, there are other ways to probably engage the same outcomes without the use of Alcohol ie.yoga, massage; But I do think it has its role.

    Alcohol is cited as an immune system depressant, so again, it can definitely be detrimental to health, but if exercised in moderation, I believe there are tangible benefits like those listed above.
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    Jan 19 2012: Tibor
    Lot's of data out there that says it is.
    Lot's of data out there that says it is not.
    Pick one and grab the data to defend your decision.
    As for me, I'm having that glass of wine:)
  • Jan 18 2012: .
    Dieticians and nutritionalists say alot of things...
    (Previous Biologist speaking here).
    Just do what you think is right , keep your foods somewhat varied and in moderation, try and throw in a few vegetables, fruits and glasses of water from time to time and keep relatively active when possible, both physically and mentally.

    Apart from in particular cases (and judging by your picture you're not one of them) the ideas presented on the subject of diets etc etc is more or less nonsense with no observable benefits. It usually contradicts itself after a set period of time and I see no legitimate reason to take any notice.

    That being said, It won't hurt to follow such ideas put forth by these groups (besides your bank account), but it won't do anything that you'll ever notice, unless you can convince yourself otherwise (but still doesn't do anything).