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Health & Safety
- The alcohol content of the typical bottle
of beer, glass of wine, and mixed drink are equivalent. 1
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- People who drink in moderation tend to be
healthier and live longer than those who either abstain or abuse
- Moderate consumption of alcohol does not appear
to contribute to weight gain. 3
- Distilled spirits (whiskey, brandy, rum, tequila,
gin, etc.) contain no carbohydrates, no fats of any kind, and
no cholesterol. 30
- Over half of the hospitals in the largest 65
Metropolitan areas in the U. S. have reported that they offer
alcohol beverage service to their patients. 4
- Contrary to a common misperception, alcohol
does not destroy brain cells. In fact, the moderate consumption
of alcohol is often associated with improved cognitive functioning.
- If you drive after drinking, you can limit
the effect of alcohol by eating and by not consuming more than
one drink per hour. 6
- High protein foods such as cheese and peanuts
help slow the absorption of alcohol into the body. 7
- If you don't wish to drink (or don't wish
to drink more) at a gathering, you can choose a number of beverages
that look like alcoholic drinks. They include tomato juice, lemonade,
iced tea, water and ice cubes, club soda with orange juice, tonic
water with a twist or wedge of lime, and either orange juice or
7-Up with grenadine. Cheers!
- Alleged "cures" for alcoholism have included
the so-called "Gold Cure" of Dr. Leslie Keeley, whose secret formula,
including a gold salt, was popular from about 1890 into the 1920's.
Grape-Nuts cereal was advertised in its early years as an aid
to achieving and maintaining sobriety. Currently, powered cudzu
vine root is being touted (and marketed) as a cure. 8
- The alcohol in drinks of either low alcohol
content (below 15%) or high alcohol content (over 30%) tend to
be absorbed into the body more slowly. 9
- Restaurants and bars often provide free non-alcoholic
beverages to designated drivers.
driver and similar programs have contributed to a decrease in
drunk driving fatalities of about one-fourth over a period of
10 years. 10
- An easy and informative way to estimate blood
alcohol content (BAC) is by using The Drink Wheel.
- Almost 2.5 times more teenagers in the US
were current consumers of alcohol in 1979 than in 1997 (50 % vs.
21 %). 11
- The county in Texas with the highest DWI arrests
among young drivers is "dry;" that is, prohibits the sale of alcohol.
- A major use of the very highest proof ("strongest")
alcohol is medicinal. 13
- The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms
(BAFT) refuses to let alcohol producers distribute scientific
medical information or evidence on health benefits associated
with moderate alcohol consumption. 14
- Abstaining from alcohol is a risk factor for
heart disease. That is, not drinking increases the chances that
a person will suffer heart disease. 15
- Many of the health benefits of alcohol consumption
are lost if it is not consumed on a regular basis. 16
- Beverage alcohol contains no fat or cholesterol
of any kind. 17
- The French call it "wood mouth," Germans refer
to it as "wailing of the cats," Italians call it "out of tune,"
Norwegians identify it as "carpenters in the head," Spaniards
call it "backlash," Swedes refer to it as "pain in the hair roots,"
and most English speakers call it "hangover." But by whatever
name, it can always be prevented by drinking in moderation. 18
- The ancient Greeks thought that eating cabbage
would cure a hangover and the ancient Romans thought that eating
fried canaries would do the same. Today, some Germans eat a breakfast
of red meat and bananas, some French drink strong coffee with
salt, some Chinese drink spinach tea, some Puerto Ricans rub half
a lemon under their drinking arm, some Haitians stick 13 black-headed
needles into the cork of the bottle from which they drank, and
some Russians drink vodka in an effort to cure hangovers. None
of these "cures" is effective. 19
A mixed drink containing carbonated beverage is absorbed into
the body more quickly than are straight shots. 20
To Your Health!
- A vôtre santé!
- Kan pei!
- Stin ygia sou!
- Slainthe is saol agat!
- Alla tua salute!
- Kwa afya yako!
- Op je gezonheid!
- Na zdrowie!
- Za vashe z-dorovye!
- Iechyd da i chivri!
- I sveikata!
- Nearly a dozen states with a .08 BAC level
have proposed reducing this level to .06 or lower. Washington
State has actually had legislation proposed to make even .02 illegal.
This level is exceeded by consuming less than one drink or by
simply using mouthwash. Since half of all intoxicated drivers
involved in fatal accidents have a BAC of .17 (nearly nine times
higher than .02) or greater, is the real interest here in stopping
drunk driving accidents or in stopping all drinking? 21
- It is never safe or wise to drink heavily,
although it is not nearly so very dangerous as usually portrayed
in the media. For example, based on data from the Higher Education
Center for Alcohol and Other Drugs, for a student who "binges,"
(which they define as consuming four to five or more drinks on
an occasion), the chance of a fatality is about one in 8,666,667
so-called "binges." Furthermore, fatalities are disproportionately
found among those who have consumed over 20 drinks in less than
two hours. 22
Of course even one such death is one too many and is a needless
- Alcohol is listed as medicinal in the United
States Pharmacopoeia. 23
- No instance of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS)
has deen documented in the medical research literature in which
the mother was not a long-term heavy drinker. 24
- Beginning to drink early in life does not
lead to problems later in life. 25
- The original purpose of mint juleps appears
to have been medicinal. 26
- All 13 minerals necessary for human life can
be found in alcohol beverages. 27
- The drinking of "healths" is a custom found
around the world 28
- Drunk driving fatality rates and underage drinking rates are
no different between states that allow Sunday sales of alcohol
beverages and those that do not. 29
- 1. Ford, Gene. The French Paradox
and Drinking for Health. San Francisco, CA: Wine Appreciation
Guild, 1993, p. 108. These are standard drink sizes. Of course, five
ounces of a dessert wine contains more alcohol, as does a higher content
beer or ale, or a distilled spirit higher than the typical 80 proof.
The equivalent sizes for these drinks would differ from those of standard
drinks, a fact that drinkers should keep in mind. (Carrol, C. R. Drugs
in Modern Society. Boston, Massachusetts: McGraw-Hill, 2000, p.
77.) Because standard drinks are equivalent in alcohol content, it
is misleading to refer to spirits as "hard liquor," which implies
that drinking distilled spirits leads more quickly or easily to intoxication
than other alcohol beverages.
- 2. Ellison, R. Curtis. Does
Moderate Alcohol Consumption Prolong Life? New York: American
Council on Science and Health, 1993, p. 108.
- 3. Marcus, Kim. You don't
have to abstain while dieting.Wine Spectator, May 31, 1997,
p. 13; Kahn, H. S., et al, Stable behaviors associated with
adults' 10-year change in body mass index and likelihood of gain
at the waist. American Journal of Public Health, 1997, 87
(5), 747-754; Cordain, L. et al. Influence of moderate
daily wine consumption upon body weight regulation and metabolism
in healthy free-living males. Journal of the American College
of Nutrition, 1997, 16 (2); Mannisto, S., et al.
Reported alcohol intake, diet and body mass index in male smokers.
European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 1996, 50,
239-245; Rumpler, W. V., et al. Energy value of moderate
alcohol consumption. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,
1996, 64, 108-114; Colditz, G. A. Alcohol intake in relation
to diet and obesity in women and men. American Journal of Clinical
Nutrition, 1991, 54, 49-55; Lands, W. E. M., and Zakhari,
S. The case of the missing calories. American Journal of Clinical
Nutrition, 1994, 59, 619-625.
- 4. Survey conducted by Matheson
and Matheson, Inc. San Franciscon, California, reported in Perdue,
Lewis, and Shoemaker, Wells. The French Paradox and Beyond.
Sonoma, CA: Renaissance Publishing, 1992, p. 43.
- 5. Roueche, Berton. The
Neutral Spirit. Boston, Massachusetts: Little, Brown & Co.,
1960, p. 76; Christian, J. C., et al. Self-reported alcohol
intake and cognition in aging twins. Journal of Studies on Alcohol,
1995, 56, 414-416; Dufouil, C. Sex differences in the association
between alcohol consumption and cognitive performance. American
Journal of Epidemiology, 1997, 146(5), 405-412; Elias,
P., et al. Alcohol consumption and congitive performance
in the Framingham Heart Study. American Journal of Epidemiology,
150(6), 550-589; Galanis, C., et al. A longitudinal
study of drinking and cognitive performance in elderly Japanese
American men: the Honolulu-Asia Aging Study, American Journal
of Public Health, 2000, 90(8); Baum-Baicker, C. the psychological
benefits of moderate alcohol consumption: a review of the literature.
Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 1985, 15.
- 6. Engs, Ruth. Alcohol
and other Drugs: Self-Responsibility. Bloomington, Indiana:
Tichenor, 1987, pp. 151 & 153.
- 7. Ibid, p. 151.
- 8. Lender, Mark E., and
Martin, James K. Drinking in America. New York: Free Press,
1982, pp. 122-124; Valverde, M. Diseases of the Will: Alcohol
and the Dilemmas of Freedom. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University
Press, 1998, p. 63.
- 9. Perdue, Lewis, and Shoemaker,
Wells. The French Paradox and Beyond. Sonoma, California:
Renaissance Publishing, 1992, pp. 65-66.
- 10. National Highway Traffic
Safety Administration, www.nhtsa.dot.gov/people/ncsa/ovrfacts.html#Alcohol.
(July 18, 1997)
- 11. Substance Abuse and
Mental Health Service Administration. Preliminary results from the
1997 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse. Washington, DC, SAMHSA,
- 12. Associated Press,
May 26, 1999.
- 13. Levinthal, Charles
F. Drugs, Behavior, and Modern Society. Boston, Massachusetts:
Allyn and Bacon, 1996, p. 231.
- 14. The Wine Spectator,
April 15, 1990; The New York Times, March 6, 1991.
- 15. Ellison, C. Curtis.
Does Moderate Alcohol Consumption Prolong Life? New York:
American Council of Science and Health, 1993.
- 16. Barr, Andrew. Drink:
A Social History of America. New York: Carroll & Graf, 1999,
17. US Department of Agriculture
Nutrient Database for Standard Reference (www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/cgi-bin/nut_search.pl?alcohol);
World Almanac and Book of Facts 2000. Mahwah, New Jersey: Primedia,
1999, p. 727.
18. Rouche, p. 77; O'Hara,
C.B. The Bloody Mary. New York: Lyons Press, 1999, p. 18.
19. Cottom, Abby. Personal
communication. November 30, 1998; O'Hara, C.B. The Bloody Mary.
New York: Lyons Press, 1999, p. 11; Hangover remedies. Top Health:
The Health Promotion and Wellness Newsletter, 2000 (December),
20. Carvey, P. M. Drug
Action in the Central Nervous System. New York: Oxford University
21. Mead, Jerry D. Blood
alcohol controversy. Wine Trader, 1999, v. T (1), 64.
22. Shepard, Eric. How
risky is "binge drinking"? Alcohol Issues Insights,1998,
23. U.S. Pharmacopeial
Convention. United States Pharmacopeia. Rockville, MD: U.S.
Pharmacopeial Convention, 1995.
24. Abel, E. L., and Hannigan,
J. H. Maternal risk factrors in Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: Provocative
and permissive influences. Neurotoxicology and Teratology,
1995, 17, 445-462.
25. Prescott, C.A., and
Kendler, K.S. Age at first drink and risk for alcoholism: A noncausal
association. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research,
1999, 23, 101-107.
26. Barr, p. 46.
27. Ford, G. Wine, Beer
and Spirits: the World's Most Versatile Health Foods, in press,
chapter 14 (Diet and Nutrition).
28. Babor, T. Alcohol:
Customs and Rituals. New York: Chelsea House, 1986, p. 114;
Jeffers, H. P. High Spirits. New York: Lyons & Burford, 1997.
- 29. National Highway Traffic
Safety Administration and National Household Survey on Drug Abuse
data. Cited by Cressy, P.H., Repeal ban on Sunday liquor sales.
The Hartford Courant, 12-7-03.
- 30. U.S. Department
of Agriculture nutrition tables, 2003, p. 15; Prange, M. Plan to
keep your drinking safe. The Record (Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario),