Here are 12 surprising facts about alcohol, drinking and health. There are a lot of myths about alcohol in general. And there are many about drinking and health in particular.
12 Surprising Facts about Alcohol
1. Drinking alcohol in moderation is linked to better health and longer life1 than either abstaining from alcohol or abusing it.
2. Drinking in moderation reduces the risk of developing many diseases. They include these, among others.
- Senility, including Alzheimer’s disease
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Enlarged prostate
- Type 2 diabetes (adult-onset diabetes)
- Gallbladder disease
- Kidney cancer
- Thyroid cancer
- Hodgkin’s lymphoma (cancer)
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (cancer)
- Peripheral artery disease
- Metabolic syndrome
- Essential tremors
- Hepatitis A
- Kidney stones
- Parkinson’s disease
- Stress and depression
- Common cold
- Fatty liver disease
- Asthma and lung disease
- Abdominal aortic aneurysm
- Hypertension or high blood pressure
- Helicobacter pylori infection (the major cause of hepatitis B)
- Intermittent claudication.2
3. Moderate drinkers are much less likely than abstainers to have coronary heart disease and heart attacks.3 This is important. Coronary disease is the major cause of death in many other parts of the world.
4. Alcohol abstainers who begin drinking reduce their risk of cardiovascular and other diseases.4
5. Drinking increases the survivability of cardiovascular disease and heart attacks.5
6. Drinking increases the survivability of traumatic injury.6
7. Frequent drinkers have more heart-health benefits than those who drink less often.7
8. Exercising can’t replace the health benefits of drinking in moderation.8
9. Alcohol contains calories. But moderate drinkers tend to weigh the same or less than abstainers. And they tend to gain less weight as they age.9
10. Beer and wine contain no fat or cholesterol. Spirits contain no fat, no cholesterol and no carbs. This is one of the important facts about alcohol.10
11. All the minerals necessary for good health are found in alcoholic beverages.11
12. Alcohol is listed as medicinal in the United States Pharmacopoeia.12 The major use of the very highest proof (“strongest”) alcohol is medicinal.13
Did you know many of these 12 surprising facts about alcohol, drinking and health? Now you know them all.
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References: 12 Surprising Facts about Alcohol, Drinking and Health
1-3. References located at Alcohol and Health.
4. King, D., et al. Adopting moderate alcohol consumption in middle-age: Subsequent cardiovascular events. Am J Med. 2008, 121(3), 201-206. Granbak, M., et al. Changes in alcohol Intake and mortality. Epid., 2004, 15(2), 222-228.
5. Mulcamel, K., et al. Alcohol consumption after myocardial infarction. JAMA, 2001, 285(15), 1965-1970. de Lorgeril, M., et al. Wine drinking and risks of cardiovascular complications after recent acute myocardial infarction. Circ., 2002, 106, 1465-1469.
6. Tien, H., et al. Association between alcohol and mortality in patients with severe traumatic head injury. Arch Surg. 2006, 141, 1185-1191. Salim, A., et al. Positive serum ethanol level and mortality in moderate to severe traumatic brain injury. Arch Surg. 2009, 144(9), 865-871. Yaghoubian, A., et al. Elevated blood alcohol level may be protective of trauma patient mortality. Am Surg. 2009, 75(10), 950-953.
7. Anani, U., et al. Alcohol consumption and risk of coronary heart disease by diabetes status. Circ., 2000, 102, 500-505.
8. Pedersen, J., et al. The combined influence of leisure-time physical activity and weekly alcohol intake on fatal ischaemic heart disease and all-cause mortality. Euro Hrt J. 2008, 29(2), 204-212.
9. Wang, L, et al. Alcohol consumption, weight gain, and risk of becoming overweight in middle-aged and older women. Arch Inter Med. 2010, 170(5), 453-461. Arif, A.A., and Rohrer, J.E. Patterns of alcohol drinking and its association with obesity. BMC Pub Hlth. 2005, 5, 126. Breslow, R.A., and Smothers, B.A. Drinking pattern and body mass index in never smokers. Am J Epid. 2005, 161(4). Sung, K.C., et al. Relationship among alcohol, body weight, and cardiovascular risk factors in 27,030 Korean men. Diab Care, 2007, 30(10), 2690-2694. 10. National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference. Calories, Carbs & Fat in Popular Beverages.
11. Ford, G. Wine, Beer and Spirits: the World’s Most Versatile Health Foods, in press, chapter 14 (Diet and Nutrition). USDA. National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 27. Agricultural Research Service website.
12. U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention. United States Pharmacopeia. U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention website.
13. Levinthal, C.F. Drugs, Behavior, and Modern Society. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1996, p. 231.