Health & Safety

  1. The alcohol content of the typical bottle of beer, glass of wine, and mixed drink are equivalent. 1 For more, visit Standard Drinks.
  2. People who drink in moderation tend to be healthier and live longer than those who either abstain or abuse alcohol. 2
  3. Moderate consumption of alcohol does not appear to contribute to weight gain. 3
  4. Distilled spirits (whiskey, brandy, rum, tequila, gin, etc.) contain no carbohydrates, no fats of any kind, and no cholesterol. 30
  5. 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
  6. 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. 5
  7. 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
  8. High protein foods such as cheese and peanuts help slow the absorption of alcohol into the body. 7
  9. 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!
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. Restaurants and bars often provide free non-alcoholic beverages to designated drivers.
  13. Designated driver and similar programs have contributed to a decrease in drunk driving fatalities of about one-fourth over a period of 10 years. 10
  14. An easy and informative way to estimate blood alcohol content (BAC) is by using The Drink Wheel.
  15. Almost 2.5 times more teenagers in the US were current consumers of alcohol in 1979 than in 1997 (50 % vs. 21 %). 11
  16. The county in Texas with the highest DWI arrests among young drivers is "dry;" that is, prohibits the sale of alcohol. 12
  17. A major use of the very highest proof ("strongest") alcohol is medicinal. 13
  18. 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
  19. 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
  20. Many of the health benefits of alcohol consumption are lost if it is not consumed on a regular basis. 16
  21. Beverage alcohol contains no fat or cholesterol of any kind. 17
  22. 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
  23. 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
  24. To Your Health!

    • Salud!
    • Prosit!
    • A vôtre santé!
    • Kan pei!
    • Skål!
    • Terveydeksi!
    • Stin ygia sou!
    • Slainthe is saol agat!
    • L'chaim!
    • Alla tua salute!
    • Kwa afya yako!
    • Op je gezonheid!
    • Na zdrowie!
    • Za vashe z-dorovye!
    • Viva!
    • Ziveli!
    • Iechyd da i chivri!
    • I sveikata!
    • Egeszsegedre!
    A mixed drink containing carbonated beverage is absorbed into the body more quickly than are straight shots. 20
  25. 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
  26. 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 human tragedy.
  27. Alcohol is listed as medicinal in the United States Pharmacopoeia. 23
  28. 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
  29. Beginning to drink early in life does not lead to problems later in life. 25
  30. The original purpose of mint juleps appears to have been medicinal. 26
  31. All 13 minerals necessary for human life can be found in alcohol beverages. 27
  32. The drinking of "healths" is a custom found around the world 28
  33. 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, (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, 1998.
  • 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, p. 233.
  • 17. US Department of Agriculture Nutrient Database for Standard Reference (; 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), p. 262.
  • 20. Carvey, P. M. Drug Action in the Central Nervous System. New York: Oxford University Press, 1988.
  • 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, 15(11), 2.
  • 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), 12-10-03.

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