Drink More, Live Longer? Not So Fast

Wednesday, 01 Sep 2010 10:10 AM

By Doug Wead

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A false myth persists that alcohol use will extend your life. It is almost an accepted fact that moderate consumption of red wine is beneficial to heart disease.

Today, once more, there is a new study appearing online that claims moderate drinking in general extends lifespan more than abstinence. John Williams alerted me to the report. But readers beware.

First, the sample includes individuals “between 55 and 65 who had any kind of outpatient care in the previous three years.” Yikes. Let’s poll those sick people.

Second, more importantly, there is no information on who financed the study.

The latter can be big. When I worked in the White House I felt the power of the alcohol lobby. While statistics clearly showed that alcohol-related deaths and crime were astronomical, those facts were always stripped clean from any emerging policy or legislation.

Even when a nationally newsworthy personal tragedy forced the subject onto the front pages and the White House felt the political necessity of hosting a drunk driving event in the Rose Garden, the backroom preparations revealed the corruption of the process.

The early, more famous anti-drunk driving organizations, usually born out of the pain of loss, were almost entirely financed by the alcohol industry itself. “We care about drunk driving too,” they explained, “It hurts our image.” And so, subsequent organizations were formed only to fall on hard times and into the same status. The latest, hottest, most painfully born anti-drunk driving organizations were almost always the only pure ones.

Over the years, the most objective, less biased, scientific studies exclusively show that non-drinking groups such as Mormons and Seventh Day Adventists have the best health, and the lowest rates of cancer and heart disease.

Count me as a skeptic on this new study. I lost two brothers, one at 46 years of age, another at 47. They were both heavy drinkers. I am a teetotaler. So believe what you will. Drink up me hearties, yo ho. But don’t fool yourself either.

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