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Drinking in moderation or not at all?

By March 4, 2008 - 9:02am
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This article from Reuters got me thinking about the benefits of drinking in moderation vs. the benefits of not drinking at all. For years, we've heard from the media (through studies and researchers) that a little drinking -- especially red wine may be good for you. Do you think these claims have been overstated? Does anyone enjoy a glass of wine a night for this reason? On another note, does red wine really help you sleep?

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I rather not act absurd and accept drinking in moderation. Yes, I happen to believe red wine provides some benefits why should we deny that? Still drinking in moderation can have it's risks, in time you can misunderstand the medic advice and increase the drinking dose. Drinking in moderation brings the risk of alcoholism... so, if you don't think you can handle this it's better that you don't drink at all.
Karen, Alcohol Rehab Program

January 29, 2009 - 7:07am

Coming from a wine region, I'm pro wine for health. Plus, my doctors recommended long ago that I drink a glass of red wine with dinner for my health. That was easy to do, since my family habitually served wine with dinner.

But, I don't drink wine, red, white or otherwise, every day. This may seem a bit odd for an aspiring sommelier! As I recall, it's the flavonoids in red wine that are supposed to help lower cholesterol and boost your blood. I was always bordering on anemia, so I guess that's why I was supposed to drink red wine.

I like my pomegranate martinis, too, although I think the vodka might be counteracting the health benefits of the pomegranate, lol!

Here's what I found on the health benefits of red wine:

Yale-New Haven Hospital: A glass of red wine a day keeps the doctor away http://www.ynhh.org/online/nutrition/advisor/red_wine.html

Mayo Clinic: Grape juice: Same benefits as wine? http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/food-and-nutrition/AN00576

a votre sante!

March 6, 2008 - 5:57pm

I think the claims have been over-stated, regarding the healthy aspects of drinking. I can't remember the latest findings, as the research has gone back-and-forth on this: is it the grapes in the red wine that are healthy (hence drinking grape juice would equal the benefits of the wine), or was it the fermenting process of the grapes in the wine that was beneficial?

Honestly...if this were *just* a question of physical health, then looking at the side effects of alcohol in the body probably means it is not a substance to use in order to receive health benefits. Alcohol, (or, rather ethanol) is after all, is a mind-altering drug, something your liver has to contend with.

However, the subject of alcohol is not just a physical health question, as drinking alcohol has social and cultural influences; the psychoactive properties of the drug "help" us to relax or feel stimulated, it can lower our inhibitions and provide us with the slang "liquid courage" in social situations. Alcoholic beverages taste good (usually), and in moderation and when used responsibly, they likely are not going to cause harm in normal, healthy adults.

The question may have to do more with *why* the person is drinking alcohol, rather than to have 0 drinks or 1-2 drinks daily. Not to be a downer, but alcohol is still the number one choice of drugs, and is used by perpetrators in sexual assaults.

Back to the health question-have researchers discovered if it's the alcohol (ethanol), the grapes, or some combination that may provide health benefits? (Another tangent---when looking at "health benefits", the opposite has to be true, too: does NOT drinking alcohol IMPAIR or IMPEDE your health? Probably not. So, then, does drinking alcohol provide health BENEFITS?!)

Lastly, does the research show any health gains in the grains of beer or liquor? Inquiring minds want to know... (if my pomegranate martini is "healthy" or not!!)

March 6, 2008 - 4:16pm
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