Alcohol Risks vs. Benefits

Alcohol Risks vs. Benefits
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Does moderate alcohol consumption extend the lifespan of healthy people?

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What about moderate alcohol consumption—one to two drinks a day? Now, everyone agrees that both heavy alcohol consumption, and binge drinking—even if really infrequent—are bad, and that any alcohol during pregnancy is bad.

But the reason moderate alcohol consumption has been such a conundrum is that if you look at the top three killers, moderate alcohol consumption can reduce the risk of a heart attack, but increases our risk of cancers—including breast cancer—and increases our risk of one type of stroke—the bleeding kind—but decreases our risk of the other type of stroke—the clotting kind.

So what does that mean, overall? One to two drinks a day for the average American; what do you think? Overall harmful, harmless, or helpful?

And the answer is helpful, for the average American. But what about for a healthy person?

This new study asked the question, “Who benefits most from the cardioprotective properties of alcohol consumption—health freaks or couch potatoes?” In that study, “health freak” was defined as anyone who exercises 30 minutes a day, doesn’t smoke, and eats at least one serving of fruits and vegetables every day. In America, that’s a health freak.

Anyways, for those people, for people who follow a baseline of minimum healthy behaviors, what does moderate alcohol consumption do for their overall lifespan? Does it shorten the lives of healthy people? Not do anything for the lifespan of healthy people? Or does it make healthy people even healthier?

And the answer is that it doesn’t appear to do anything.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image thanks to tobiastoft via Flickr.

What about moderate alcohol consumption—one to two drinks a day? Now, everyone agrees that both heavy alcohol consumption, and binge drinking—even if really infrequent—are bad, and that any alcohol during pregnancy is bad.

But the reason moderate alcohol consumption has been such a conundrum is that if you look at the top three killers, moderate alcohol consumption can reduce the risk of a heart attack, but increases our risk of cancers—including breast cancer—and increases our risk of one type of stroke—the bleeding kind—but decreases our risk of the other type of stroke—the clotting kind.

So what does that mean, overall? One to two drinks a day for the average American; what do you think? Overall harmful, harmless, or helpful?

And the answer is helpful, for the average American. But what about for a healthy person?

This new study asked the question, “Who benefits most from the cardioprotective properties of alcohol consumption—health freaks or couch potatoes?” In that study, “health freak” was defined as anyone who exercises 30 minutes a day, doesn’t smoke, and eats at least one serving of fruits and vegetables every day. In America, that’s a health freak.

Anyways, for those people, for people who follow a baseline of minimum healthy behaviors, what does moderate alcohol consumption do for their overall lifespan? Does it shorten the lives of healthy people? Not do anything for the lifespan of healthy people? Or does it make healthy people even healthier?

And the answer is that it doesn’t appear to do anything.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image thanks to tobiastoft via Flickr.

Doctor's Note

For more on alcohol and cancer risk, see:
Breast Cancer and Alcohol: How Much is Safe?
Breast Cancer Risk: Red Wine vs. White Wine

Also check out my other “HHH” videos (Harmful, Harmless, or Helpful?) – listed below the post.

For further context, see my associated blog posts: Breast Cancer Survival and Soy; Eating To Extend Our LifespanBreast Cancer and DietHow to live longer in four easy steps; and Breast Cancer & Alcohol: How Much Is Safe?

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

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