Thoughts from an active pensioner who is now somewhat past his Biblical "Use-by date"

"Why just be difficult, when with a little more effort you can be bloody impossible?"

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Facts are unhelpful !

I was reading an article in today's Mail with the heading

Bottle of wine a day 'is not bad for you': Leading scientist also claims those who exceed recommended dose could live longer than teetotallers

It continues :
"Dr Kari Poikolainen, who used to work for the World Health Organisation as an alcohol expert, examined decades of research into its effects."
He claims that drinking just over a bottle a day won’t harm your health and suggests that drinking only becomes harmful when people consume more than around 13 units a day.
His conclusion is that "The weight of the evidence shows moderate drinking is better than abstaining and heavy drinking is worse than abstaining – however the moderate amounts can be higher than the guidelines say."

But Julia Manning, from think-tank 2020Health, said: ‘This is an unhelpful contribution to the debate. It makes grand claims which we don’t see evidence for.’ She added: ‘Alcohol is a toxin, the risks outweigh the benefits.’

So a doctor, who was employed as an expert on alcohol by the World Health Organisation, and studied all the research that has been carried out on the subject is "unhelpful" because his findings don't agree with the policy of some "think-tank". Clearly this Julia Manning seems to be one of those people who adopt the attitude "I've made up my mind, don't confuse me with facts"!

I'm certainly not a heavy drinker and certainly would not want to consume a bottle of wine a day. But I do know quite a few people of my age who do drink that amount quite regularly, although probably not daily. Chatting to a friend the other day in the local, he reckoned that he needed a dozen bottles of wine for a dinner party at home for eight people. Judging by the comments of others present it seems that this was accepted as being a quite reasonable amount.

I usually go to the pub a couple of times a week after bell-ringing practice (a very old tradition!) and limit myself to a pint of beer, not because of worries about whether it will do me any harm, but because I have to drive home. At home, a bottle of wine lasts the two of us for a couple of evening meals. One of the ringers, now getting on towards ninety, always has a couple of pints and has been drinking this amount for the thirty or so years that I have known him. He seems to be thriving - he has just completed walking the Thames Path in ten mile stretches and is now tackling the Chiltern path!

I would like to see the real scientific facts about alcohol published so that we can make up our own minds, but it does seem that is unlikely to happen as there are too many vested interests who have already made the decision on our behalf.

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