back to article Good news, everyone! Two pints a day keep heart problems at bay

Moderate drinking is good for you, a BMJ-published study has found, directly contradicting the advice of the UK government's "Chief Medical Officer", who advised last year there was "no safe level" of drinking. A daily pint reduces risk of a heart attack and angina by a third, a big data study of Brit adults has found, while …

  1. Julian Bradfield

    Moderate drinking is two units per day - that's one pint of beer, not two, unless you drink small beer.

    1. wolfetone Silver badge

      It's only a problem if you're counting.

    2. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      Small beer?

      Have you tried buying small beer recently? ('recently' = any time in the last hundred hears or so). The trend seems to be for ever-stronger concoctions.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Small beer?

        "The trend seems to be for ever-stronger concoctions."

        A newspaper review of the "best of" a class of products recently had "low alcohol wines".

        It transpired that by "low alcohol" they meant 11%. No sign of anything lower in their list.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Small beer?

          Snake Venom anyone?

          http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/24/worlds-strongest-beer-snake-venom_n_4157580.html

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Small beer?

            The 275 mL beer is currently retailing for £50 ($81) online.

            F*** off!

            What happened to cheap craft beer?

            1. m0rt Silver badge

              Re: Small beer?

              "What happened to cheap craft beer?"

              Hipsters.

      2. Julian Bradfield

        Re: Small beer?

        Tesco Value Bitter - 2.1% . Yes, it tastes like it, too.

      3. Captain Hogwash Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: Small beer?

        Svagdricka is readily available from supermarkets in Sweden.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Small beer?

          "Svagdricka is readily available from supermarkets in Sweden."

          Svag being "weak". Very necessary in countries with very strict drink driving laws.

          In olden times small beer was drunk by children - as the brewing process rendered it safer than the usual household water supplies.

          IIRC the tourist books for Sweden warned that ordering a "soft drink" meant a tall cocktail which contained alcohol - like a Tom Collins.

          1. Pompous Git Silver badge

            Re: Small beer?

            In olden times small beer was drunk by children
            And the women of the household. While Brande's early 19th C figure is 1.28% alcohol by volume, second washings I've made have been ~3–3.5% so much small beer could have been 2–3 times as strong. For comparison Brande's numbers had London porter at 4.2%, the more expensive “stout” porter was 6.8% , and the famously powerful Burton ale was 8.88%.

            Interestingly, the chap who lent me the money to go to university in 1969 was a Methodist and therefore teetotal. However, he and his family drank copious quantities of homemade ginger beer and were often noticeably tiddly by bed-time.

      4. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

        Re: Small beer?

        "he trend seems to be for ever-stronger concoctions."

        Not recently, there have been tax breaks in the UK for lower ABV brews, and these are proving quite popular.

        https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2012/jun/14/lower-alcohol-beer-taste-test

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Small beer?

          "Not recently, there have been tax breaks in the UK for lower ABV brews, and these are proving quite popular."

          Well, now that beer is a health drink and proper consumption could save the NHS beeelions per year, maybe the VAT and duty should be abolished?

      5. goldcd

        Not entirely true

        cheaper tax, has helped those 4% beers appear on the bars of the country (along with no pre-reduction on the consumer end)

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "that's one pint of beer, not two"

      Unless it's some dreadful American piss-lager or Fosters.

      1. TRT Silver badge
      2. Steve K Silver badge

        Ah yes - like sex in a canoe - f@cking close to water.....

    4. Brenda McViking
      Pint

      You're clearly too drunk to read the article properly: with "moderate" defined as around three pints of beer a day for men, and two glasses of wine for women (as recently as the 1960s, official health advice suggested that a bottle of wine a day was fine).

      I'd say that was about moderate for my student days. I barely manage three pints a week now that I work full time. Not counting the whisky chasers...

      There is only one definition of heavy drinking I agree with - and that's if you drink more than your doctor.

      1. DavCrav Silver badge

        "You're clearly too drunk to read the article properly: with "moderate" defined as around three pints of beer a day for men, and two glasses of wine for women (as recently as the 1960s, official health advice suggested that a bottle of wine a day was fine)."

        Depends on the article. The original BMJ article seems to say it's 3 units per day, approximate 1-1.5 pints.

      2. Julian Bradfield

        No, I'm sober enough to read the actual BMJ press release - and the end of Orlowski's article, where he defines moderate as 20g/day (which is probably a mistake for 20ml/day), or a tad over 2 units (or probably intended to be 2 units), which is a pint, not two pints.

        Also, the BMJ press release defines it as 14 units a week.

        1. wolfetone Silver badge

          "Also, the BMJ press release defines it as 14 units a week"

          So we just have 7 pints on a Friday and we're covered?

      3. Captain DaFt

        "There is only one definition of heavy drinking I agree with"

        My favorite: "You're too drunk if you can't hang onto the ground with both hands." ☺

        1. vir

          "A man is never drunk if he can lay on the ground without holding on."

    5. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Probably not beer though

      Most of the "health benefits of alcohol" studies are from countries which drink wine, not beer. In fact, the studies on benefits of beer are very ambivalent and most of the studies waved by opponents of alcohol are from beer drinking countries.

      So more like two glasses of red at dinner, not 2 pints.

      1. sabroni Silver badge

        Re: So more like two glasses of red at dinner

        Back off Brussels!!!

        1. m0rt Silver badge

          Re: So more like two glasses of red at dinner

          Interesting side note regarding level of alcohol in wines...

          I recently started drinking varying bottles of Chateauneuf Du Pape rather than the usual Wolfblass/Jacobs poison.

          Despite the fact it is around 13.5-14, I feel less affected in the morning than if I had drank from the hallowed prison isle usual suspects.

          There is something in this more expensive wine makarky. I thoroughly recommend it.

          Obviously I am not IR35 fodder as we would be talking Chateau Margaux and I would expect to wake up the next day in the arms of Venus as a result.

          1. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

            Re: So more like two glasses of red at dinner

            "There is something in this more expensive wine makarky. I thoroughly recommend it."

            I think you mean there's something missing from the expensive wine,... Sulfites. They are added as an anti-oxidant and preservative, and sweeter wines need more, so the fruity Australians probably have a higher content than your CNdP, which tastes like a pair of old leather sandals.

    6. macjules Silver badge

      'Moderate' drinking = a lot less than that. On the other hand 'real' drinking = 'Darling, that was an amazing bottle of Petrus, fancy a glass of Armagnac before bed?'

  2. hatti

    Excellent, I shouldn't have any heart problems at all until the year 2220

  3. Swarthy Silver badge
    Pint

    Cider!

    I will drink my two-a-day, and have them count towards my five-a-day.

    1. John Robson Silver badge

      Re: Cider!

      Only one of your five can be in the form of juice IIRC.

      Sorry...

    2. Brenda McViking
      Go

      Re: Cider!

      Well my wine is obviously made from grapes, and the bottle says hints of dark cherry, blueberry and raisin, with a sweet raspberry finish.

      So that's all 5 in a single drink!

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: Cider!

        What does Buckfast count as?

        1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

          Re: Cider!

          We all know that proper cider is served with bits in.

        2. Erewhon

          Re: Cider!

          "What does Buckfast count as?"

          One of your five fights a day

        3. cosymart
          Pint

          Re: Cider!

          What does Buckfast count as? - Buckall.

  4. ARGO
    Pint

    Yeah, that's going to happen

    I look forward to the governement campaign promoting drinking. Suspect I may have a long wait.....

    1. The First Dave

      Re: Yeah, that's going to happen

      Wait till they realise how much tax there is on Alcohol ...

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: Yeah, that's going to happen

        "Wait till they realise how much tax there is on Alcohol ..."

        too late.

        (I prefer microbrew ales like the ones made by Carl Strauss)

    2. Bandikoto

      Re: Yeah, that's going to happen

      Don't worry - the blue-noses will fund a study that shows us the evils of alcohol consumption long before that happens. Expect it late this year, just in time to ruin Christmas.

  5. Rich 11 Silver badge

    Saving the country money *and* boosting the economy now

    But the evidence seems compelling: if we must eat "five a day", shouldn't we also drink "two a day"?

    If I'm a bit short of cash, can I get these on the NHS? After all, prevention is better than cure.

  6. Uk_Gadget

    Perscription

    Can't wait to get my 2 pints on a daily perscription

    1. Oh Homer
      Pint

      Re: Prescription

      Me: Doctor, you've got to help me, I'm too poor to afford my RDA of booze!

      Doctor: OMG, nurse, fire up the emergency keg, stat!

      Nurse: Charging glass. Clear!

      Doctor: He's not responding. Give me 70 cc's of Glenmorangie!

      1. Bill_Sticker

        Re: Prescription

        Is your doctor taking any new patients?

        1. Oh Homer

          Re: Is your doctor taking any new patients?

          Yes, but the bouncers are only letting one in every 20 minutes.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Perscription

      "Can't wait to get my 2 pints on a daily perscription"

      They'll probably class it as individual prescriptions per "dose" and refuse to fill a 30 day prescription.

  7. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Pint

    My Goodness

    "Guinness is Good for You"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: My Goodness

      Also works quite well as a meal replacement. Forget all those protein shakes beloved of gym bunnies.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: My Goodness

      "Guinness is Good for You"

      It was quite common a few decades ago for people to be told by their doctor to drink milk stout when recuperating from an illness. Bernard Miles was the face of Mackeson's tv advertising with the catchphrase "It looks good, tastes good and, by golly, it does you good".

      1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

        Re: My Goodness

        @AC Mackeson's ad

        ""It looks good, tastes good and, by golly, it does you good"."

        I seem to recall that in more recent times they had to change that to "It looks good, tastes good and, by golly, it IS good". - weren't allowed to claim medicinal properties or something. (like all those old cigarette ads that claimed they were good for your throat!)

      2. bobajob12

        Re: My Goodness

        My mum (85yrs old) reminds me that her doctor told her to drink Guinness when she was pregnant with me. Something about iron.

        And looksh how wEll eye terned outsh.

      3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: My Goodness

        "It was quite common a few decades ago for people to be told by their doctor to drink milk stout when recuperating from an illness."

        A few decades ago I remember my granddad being in hospital and getting a daily bottle of stout with his lunch.

  8. John Robson Silver badge

    I note that the gap...

    ... between 'occasional' and 'moderate' is very narrow indeed.

    Makes a more interesting comparison for most of us I suggest.

  9. frank ly Silver badge

    A question

    What is the cause/mechanism that gives 'never drinkers' a worse outcome than moderate drinkers? Do they never exercise whereas moderate drinkers have regular walks to the pub?

    1. Steven Raith

      Re: A question

      That's what interests me - it seems unlikely that it's just having a measurable blood/alcohol level that's the cause.

      i'd guess things like socioeconomic status, social life (IE not being an anxiety riddled shut in like me) would have a reasonable impact, too.

      Steven R

    2. Palpy

      Re: A question: mechanism of action

      Mmm, according to some research, moderate alcohol consumption lowers the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) partly at least through effects on high-density lipoproteins (the bad ones). The mechanism for that? Not sure, but they're working on it.

      "There is strong evidence to support that ethanol, the main constituent in alcoholic beverages, is causally related to lower risk of CHD through changes in lipids and haemostatic factors. ... The effect of alcohol on high density lipoprotein levels accounts for the majority of the reduction in risk of CHD, however, the mechanisms by which alcohol exerts its protective effect on the cardiovascular system are very complex and not completely understood." Reffie -- there's a nice chart halfway through the article, diagramming possible cardiovascular effects of alcohol.

    3. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: A question

      What is the cause/mechanism that gives 'never drinkers' a worse outcome than moderate drinkers?

      I've seen other studies that relate it to your social situation. Moderate drinkers tend to drink in company, enjoying time with friends, and it's that social relaxation that's good for you.

      1. AMBxx Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: A question

        A friend of mine is a cardiologist. He did a paper a few years ago following up on the french paradox. My contribution was to hold a wine tasting at Brighton hospital (I worked in the wine trade at the time).

        Stats at the time showed that morbidity of drinkers only exceeded that of abstainers once above 30 units per week. That is 30 units per week is just as good as not drinking at all.

        1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

          Re: A question

          What about 30/night?

          1. Steven Raith

            Re: A question

            All right, calm down, Mr Hague, we all heard the stories about you back in the day...

    4. Charlie Clark Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: A question

      It's a good question. I think from a biochemical position the definition of "no safe limit" is sound: alcohol has profound and extremely variable effects on the body, some good, some not so good and some downright nasty. And not everyone can cope with alcohol as well – the Japanese are famous for a low tolerance – but other groups of people have similar issues at different parts of the cycle.

      But we're more than just biochemistry: the rest of the diet should be considered along with the amount of exercise which sort of makes a mockery of any single issue study.

    5. phuzz Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: A question

      It would be interesting to see if they broke this down by where people drink., ie is going to the pub more or less healthy than drinking at home?

      I guess the walk is going to do you good?

    6. streaky Silver badge

      Re: A question

      What is the cause/mechanism that gives 'never drinkers' a worse outcome than moderate drinkers?

      Could be something as simple as stress in never drinkers. Entirely plausible. Study doesn't look at all cause deaths is what I'd draw attention to.

    7. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: A question

      "What is the cause/mechanism that gives 'never drinkers' a worse outcome than moderate drinkers?"

      it has things to do with arteriol sclerosis last I checked. Apparently small amounts of alcohol have a cleaning effect, like occasionally pouring some drain cleaner down the sink.

      (taking niacin, using aspirin, and things like that are probably similar)

      So do the combo - take niacin and aspirin every day as vitamin supplements, and then have a couple of beers in the evening to wash away the daily stress.

    8. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

      Re: A question

      Here’s the final word on nutrition and health. It’s a relief to know the truth after all those conflicting medical studies.

      1. The Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans.

      2. The Mexicans eat a lot of fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans.

      3. The Japanese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans

      4. The Italians drink excessive amounts of red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans.

      5. The Germans drink a lot of beers and eat lots of sausages and fats and suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans.

      CONCLUSION: Eat and drink what you like. Speaking English is apparently what kills you.

      1. Pompous Git Silver badge

        Re: A question

        Speaking English is apparently what kills you.
        "I love Americans, but not when they try to talk French. What a blessing it is that they never try to talk English." HH Munro The Chronicles of Clovis

      2. streaky Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: A question

        One of my favourite scientific subjects is what's known as the French paradox.

        Simplest explanation is the idea that they're actually really terrible at attributing death in their statistics.

        If you look at single-outcome deaths you can make all sorts of claims about all sorts of things; problem is when you look at all causes. That lower heart risk might also associate with higher risk from liver disease or cancer or aortic dissection or gangrene. This is all a roundabout way of saying I like coffee.

    9. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

      Re: A question

      "What is the cause/mechanism that gives 'never drinkers' a worse outcome than moderate drinkers?"

      Tee-totallers are uptight. They worry themselves into an early grave.

  10. Roger Kynaston

    booze is good for you

    Many years ago I worked in a sadly defunct off licence. One of the first reports that found that a glass or so of red wine was good for you was published.

    We had a couple who every morning as soon as we opened bought a litre bottle of whisky. That morning they came in jubilantly stating it was on doctors orders.

    If the views in this article do become accepted widely there will be incredible arguments about what moderate is. Why do this always do it in units? Given that a pint is 660ml (give or take) and 5% of that is 33ml why not state that 120ml of alcohol is moderate - assuming three pints is what we are after.

    finally - shirly there is an el reg measure

    1. Pete 2 Silver badge

      Re: booze is good for you

      > Given that a pint is 660ml

      Ahem. 568ml. But since this is El reg, 0.227 nano-swiming pools.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: booze is good for you

      "Given that a pint is 660ml (give or take) and 5% of that is 33ml why not state that 120ml of alcohol is moderate [...]"

      Wine can come in at about 11%. If a beer is 5% - then you would be allowed the equivalent by drinking near enough a bottle of wine per day.

      When the nurse did the computer health tick boxes - one question was how much did you drink a month. The answer elicited raised eyebrows until it was clarified that it was one bottle of wine rather than spirits.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: booze is good for you

      "Many years ago I worked in a sadly defunct off licence"

      That sounds like an odd job. Did they pay you to stand behind the dusty windows and abandoned counter and yell "Sorry mate, it's closed down" to passing customers? ;-P

      1. Roger Kynaston

        Re: booze is good for you

        A classic case of read before posting. Bottoms Up was not then defunct but is now.

        1. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

          Re: booze is good for you

          Better to think a bit after someone corrects your English and you decide to hit back by criticising their comprehension skills... You really should have said "since-defunct" (though I'm not 100% sold on the need for the hyphen here). I didn't downvote you, by the way.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: booze is good for you

            I'm the person who made the joke- personally, I assumed Roger was saying *he* should have double-checked his own comment before posting rather than intending any criticism towards me?

            I'm not that bothered either way anyway- I knew what he meant but chose to misunderstand for comic effect. (^_^)

    4. Michael Strorm

      Re: booze is good for you

      If (for example) you see a story like "study shows that chocolate may be good for the health of your thumb", and it goes on to explain that the study involved eating a single, small block of unsweetened high-quality chocolate with 85% cocoa solids- or whatever!- once a week... then you know damn well that all most people are going to remember is they heard something about chocolate being good for them, so it's okay to eat half the family-size Dairy Milk they got on offer at WH Smith on the bus home.

      I mean, I like Dairy Milk and all that, but I don't use some misremembered "health" claims to justify eating it!

      And the other problem with health and nutrition stories in the news in general is that you're always more likely to hear about the ones that make the best headlines- and that's assuming that the story is accurately reported, complete with boring but important details and qualifiers that make it less interesting.

    5. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      Off licence?

      Eeeh, bah eck, I remember t' old off-licence. It were between t' carriage-lamp shop and t' wireless repairer. But then them infernal supermarketty places done opened, and started selling booze. Now all t' old shops 'uv gone, and now instead here's a phone shop, a vape shop (whatever that be) an' a Greggs.

      Ah, bring back the good old 1990s.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Joyous news!

    After fairly depressingly sad stuff here in the UK today, finally a story that warms the heart. I've not upvoted as many comments in an el reg story for many years. My message to meddling puritan vegetable folk : bugger off and mind your own business. Vegetables are for fermenting : Never forget that. Next, please confirm that post-pub restorative food (as documented by the still missed Lester back in the golden age of el reg) is also good for you. Cheers all!

    1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

      Re: Joyous news!

      Can't beat a proper pasty post pub. It's a balanced meal and kept miners going for years.

    2. Erewhon

      Re: Joyous news!

      "Vegetables are for fermenting"

      or

      "Vegetables are for feeding animals to make Meat!"

      1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

        Re: Joyous news!

        You are Ron Swanson AICMFP.

    3. MJI Silver badge

      Re: Joyous news!

      Fruit is for fermenting, apples, grapes, pears.

      Vegetables are for keeping the meat company in a roast.

      Roast potatoes hmmmm

      Leeks hmmmmmmmmm

      Sprouts hmmmm - really!

      And some nice roast beef and Yorkshires, or chicken with stuffing.

      But I detest peas!

      I am now hungry!

    4. earl grey Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Joyous news!

      Beer and Bacon.

      You can't go wrong.

  12. graeme leggett

    Careful wording in study

    "Heavy drinking (exceeding recommended limits) conferred an increased risk of first presenting with a range of such diseases, including heart failure, cardiac arrest and ischaemic stroke compared with moderate drinking"

    "Heavy" in this context is therefore anything over 3 units a day for men.

    But this sentence makes the blood run cold - "Heavy drinkers had an increased risk of their initial presentation of cardiovascular disease being _unheralded coronary death_ " (my emphasis) ie no warning before it happens.

    On the bright side "Suggestive differences included that the lower risk of myocardial infarction in heavy drinkers was attenuated in current smokers" - so that's Farage nailed.

    link to actual article

    http://www.bmj.com/content/356/bmj.j909

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Careful wording in study

      "Suggestive differences included that the lower risk of myocardial infarction in heavy drinkers was attenuated in current smokers"

      so let's add some stats that include smoking as a factor, and see where THAT leads...

      FYI niacin, vitamin B3, which is needed for proper nerve function and can help deplete excess cholesterol, is "nicotinic acid". However, nicotene from tobacco tends to plaque things out in your arteries (maybe because it's a similar yet distinct-enough chemical). So yeah, it's a factor that would very likely affect the benefits of alcohol for cardiovascular disease studies.

      Now, I want a beer.

  13. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Cuddles Silver badge

      Re: Reproducibility crisis in science.

      While it's true that there are issues with reproduction of results in general, this is not really a good place to bring it up, since this is a reproduction of previous studies. Not drinking being less healthy than moderate drinking is something that has been seen over and over again for years, as was noted in the article. There have been various theories about how this might be due to something other than the drinking itself, teetotallers often having stopped drinking due to some health condition for example, but as studies like this one show, even taking that into account it seems to be less healthy not to drink at all. Complaining that studies on other subjects haven't been replicated is all very well, but not particularly relevant to one that has been replicated over and over again.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. Tom Paine Silver badge
          Boffin

          Re: Reproducibility crisis in science.

          Isn't it a Cochrane synthesis?

          If so, the whole point is that the one study that disagrees with the other four can be regarded as less statistically significant, if not discarded altogether.

          Ben Goldacre's written some fascinating books on this stuff.

        2. Cuddles Silver badge

          Re: Reproducibility crisis in science.

          "What this is here is not "a reproduction of previous studies". It's a regurgitation of previous studies. A metastudy does not reproduce the results of previous studies. It does no new research."

          Well firstly, you clearly didn't actually look at the study, or even read the article properly. The study the article refers to absolutely is a new study that has just been published. In your desperation to find something to complain about, you've apparently got confused by the fact that the article also briefly refers to an entirely different metastudy published nearly a decade ago. In any case, while whining about metastudies is common when people don't like the results, simply saying something is a metastudy is in no way a valid reason to dismiss it.

          "If the original studies are shit, guess what, so is the metastudy."

          The key word there being "studies". As in plural. You originally complained that the problem was a lack of replication. Now it's been pointed out that there actually are lots of studies replicating the same results in this case you've moved the goalposts to complain that some of those multiple studies might not have been good ones. While that is also true, it's both irrelevant to your original point and entirely unsupported by any evidence. If you can point to actual problems with any of these studies, feel free to do so, but bringing up red herrings to divert from the original claim isn't going to help your case. Ironically, if you'd bothered to actually read the article properly and checked your sources, you'd have noticed that the link referring to the metastudy in question was actually a rather critical Reg article pointing to numerous potential issues with it. Not enough to dismiss it out of hand, but certainly enough that it probably should not, and indeed clearly has not, be taken as a final authoritative answer.

          "So, one out of five didn't. Why's that then?"

          Because that's how science works. Not all studies will always agree with each other in every respect, for a huge variety of reasons ranging from experimental error to biological variability to simple chance. That's precisely why replication is so important, which was supposed to be the thing you were worried about in the first place. We look at the same thing over and over again, hopefully in a variety of different ways, and then come to a conclusion based on the balance of evidence. As things stand, that balance currently suggests that moderate drinking has health benefits over not drinking at all. Jumping around from complaining that the results haven't been replicated to complaining that many replications over the course of decades hasn't given a perfectly proven unanimous result is just silly, and rather suggests an unwillingness to accept the result rather than any actual issue with the method of getting there.

    2. Allan George Dyer Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Reproducibility crisis in science.

      @Symon - "According to a survey published in the journal Nature last summer, more than 70% of researchers have tried and failed to reproduce another scientist's experiments."

      So have they repeated the survey with the same results?

      It's turtles, all the way down.

  14. Chris G Silver badge

    Chemically speaking

    In a beaker, ethanol readily dissolves cholesterol.

    So in my view a good occasional spring clean of the arteries should be a good thing.

    After all using a solvent oil to flush the galleries in an engine helps to extend engine life

    1. Nick Kew Silver badge

      Re: Chemically speaking

      OK, so which has the more drastic side-effects? Booze or statins?

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  15. Luiz Abdala
    Pint

    Health Treatment.

    Can I get exempt of taxes for "health treatment" at a "health facility" named "The Legend of Oily Johnnies" or at "The Randy Leprechaun"?

  16. 0laf Silver badge

    Pharmacology graduate here. One lecture was on alcohol interactions and metabolism.

    Lecturer informed us impressionable students that unless you have a particular genetic mutation you can basically drink as much as you like and you'll never get cirrhosis.

    Although you'd never know until it was too late.

  17. MattLoren

    This is correlative not causative.

    And all similar studies have been proven to be so too. Sorry to be a party pooper :(

    Non-drinkers and Ex-drinkers usually have another reason not to drink - another health condition or lifestyle which isn't compatible with boozing. This group are therefore skewed towards having health issues than any of the other groups; If you're in fine fettle you can be a heavy drinker and you'll be fine, if you're shot and dying of cancer and on a cocktail of sensitive drugs, you're not going to be drinking at all.

    Basically a glass of wine a day is fine ..because it doesn't do anything. Drink heavily you're more likely to get some kind of problem. don't drink at all or have given up drink?? There's probably a damn good reason.

    1. lukewarmdog
      Pint

      Re: This is correlative not causative.

      I dunno.. if I got shot, got cancer and got put on a cocktail of sensitive drugs, I think I'd need a pint to come to terms with all that.

    2. tiggity Silver badge

      Re: This is correlative not causative.

      Health issues is not going to be that large a reason not to drink (plenty of people with health issues still drink, often a s a treat / minor pleasure to make the nastiness of their bad health a bit more bearable)

      Worth noting that plenty of people do not drink for religious reasons (and don't just think Islam etc, plenty of Christian sects e.g. lots of joyless Methodist groups in the UK, and plenty of happy clappy evangelicals eschew booze as so full of the joy of the Lord they would explode if they had any more pleasure)

    3. Denarius Silver badge

      Re: This is correlative not causative.

      Matt,

      good point. I don't drink wine much because most of it is bitter stuff. Gold medals are usually a warning sign IMHO. Main reason is simply my flying is affected for 24 hours after one glass of wine the night before. Less mental resilience, more prone to airsickness, heartburn and (I think) less cognitive competency. Other soaring pilots seem unaffected and fly further faster etc. None of my drinking behaviour is ideological, but I note health freak relatives who eat oh so carefully seem to be more stressed and less healthy, as in they seem to get bad colds and so on. Perhaps I am just running close to my mental capacity too and don't have spare CPU cycles.

      1. Pompous Git Silver badge

        Re: This is correlative not causative.

        I don't drink wine much because most of it is bitter stuff. Gold medals are usually a warning sign IMHO.
        Actually, very little wine is bitter; Amarone is deliberately bitter, but most wine is made from other grapes. If the white you're drinking is bitter, it's likely oxidised because of a faulty closure.

        Gold medals are awarded for the best in class at wine shows. They are not intended to be an absolute guide. There are ever so many different classes at any given wine show, so it's possible to obtain a gold medal merely by being the only wine entered into a particular class. It's also possible for a bronze medal winner in one class to be ever so much better than a gold medal winner in a different class.

        Basically, the medal system is a marketing tool unless you can be bothered to understand which class the particular wine was awarded its gong. Far better IMHO to have a good working relationship with your supplier. Mine allows me to drink two bottles from a case and if I don't like the wine, return the case for a full refund. His "sales droids" also know my tastes and phone me when a favourite is about to cease to be available. The discount on the last few dozen tends to be 50% or more. I do love those "sales droids" ;-)

  18. Sporkinum

    No moral reason

    I just never have drank much. I may have a beer once or twice a month. Same with wine. Just never has been a thing with me.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No moral reason

      I like the taste of some alcoholic drinks - but not the effects of the alcohol content. Unfortunately it appears that it is the alcohol component that adds to the taste. De-alcoholised wines tend to be bland or too sweet.

      People's palates vary. In recent years there have been several occasions when friends have offered me a white wine that they find exceptionally tasty - and to me there is almost no taste. On the other hand "oaked" wines always have a bitter kick in the throat.

      1. Pompous Git Silver badge

        Re: No moral reason

        On the other hand "oaked" wines always have a bitter kick in the throat.
        That's because you're committing infanticide. The tannin from oaking is not there to add a bitter taste, it's there as a preservative while the wine matures. Over time, the tannin deposits itself in the bottom of the bottle and when that's (almost) complete, the wine is at its peak.

  19. Grunchy

    I'm a bit like Withnail

    Well, more like Richard Grant. He's famously unable to metabolize alcohol, thereby rendering him by necessity a life-long teetotaler.

    Anyway I looked through the linked article, they say it's an observational study so no firm conclusions can be drawn regarding cause & effect.

    So, the Reg has blown this out of proportion. Click bait article. Fake news, even!

    Personally I don't drink, I don't even care about alcohol. The only reason I'm participating at all is to point out, yeah the actual report doesn't conclude what the Reg says.

    1. MrXavia

      Re: I'm a bit like Withnail

      Observational studies can be very informative, but you are right, it is hard to be sure the cause and effect.. more data is clearly needed to eliminate other possible causes

  20. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Pint

    Now we need to prove that drinking is good for your marriage

    Then you can tell your wife "I'm doing this for US, baby!" as you drain a six-pack.

  21. Nick Kew Silver badge
    Pint

    Correlation vs Causation

    Sorry, the study as quoted here and elsewhere I've encountered only addresses correlation. No suggestion that drinking is actually good for you (causation). It leaves open alternative hypotheses, like the teetotallers sampled including disproportionately many who where teetotal precisely because they were (already) too ill to drink.

    Unless someone knows more than has been reported?

    1. Tom Paine Silver badge

      Re: Correlation vs Causation

      Jumping off a cliff was only correlated with dying at the bottom until Newton came along.

      1. Marketing Hack Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: Correlation vs Causation

        Modern man has advanced the realm of knowledge to the point that we know that it is not the fall that kills you, but the sudden stop at the end!

  22. Anonymous Cow Herder

    Other research has shown...

    floor polish had brought about all the symptoms of death, but that it just wore off.

    1. Korev Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: Other research has shown...

      That would be an ecumenical matter...

      Almost looks like Father Hackett ->

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wishful thinking

    So many people desperate to believe that the way they've always behaved is just fine, and that those idiot so-called "scientists" don't know what they're talking about. It's like the Daily Mail. letters column.

    FWIW I've been on Selincro for nearly 6 months, I'm down to a pint a day with a wee nightcap, and feel healthier, happier, better rested and clearer headed than I have for thirty years. It's expansive (£120 / month) but I'm saving more than I spend, too.

    And I still like to have a big Friday or Saturday night out once or twice a month; the difference is that it's a shock to the system to find I've lost the following morning, again. And I think to myself, christ, I used to wake up feeling like this *every day*...

    1. Korev Silver badge
      WTF?

      Re: Wishful thinking

      It's a bit sad that people are downvoting someone who's had a problem with alcohol and appears to be making progress.

  24. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    Pint

    Glad

    I whined at my doc until he let me have 1 beer a day.

    although what effect it has on the cocktail of drugs I take I have no idea....... but its fun finding out

    <<found out tramadol and paracetamol dont play nicely in your system..... the hard way

  25. DougS Silver badge

    Apparently quitting drinking is the worst thing you can do

    Taking all those results together, the "former drinker" has the highest risk of all - even higher than heavy drinker!

    So apparently the lesson is:

    1) if you don't drink, you should start drinking

    2) if you already drink, keep drinking

    3) if you quit drinking, start drinking again

  26. Herby Silver badge

    Moral: Life is a terminal disease.

    I'll drink to that. Relax and chill out. If you think about it too much, worrying will shorten this disease, which nobody really wants.

    Me? Mom is 98 and still going strong. Genetically I'm OK!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Moral: Life is a terminal disease.

      " Genetically I'm OK!"

      Only if those "good" genes were in the hand that you were dealt - and you will only get half your mother's genes anyway.

      1. Pompous Git Silver badge

        Re: Moral: Life is a terminal disease.

        you will only get half your mother's genes anyway
        Rather more than half actually. You're forgetting about mitochondrial DNA which comes exclusively from your mother.

        1. Korev Silver badge

          Re: Moral: Life is a terminal disease.

          And if you're a boy, the X chromosome is much bigger than the Y

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I guess I picked the wrong week to quit drinking

    That is all.

    1. Pompous Git Silver badge

      Re: I guess I picked the wrong week to quit drinking

      There is no correct week to quit drinking!

  28. Esme

    Two whole pints?!

    but, but.. but I get tiddly on just three shots of whisky, don;t reckon I could cope with a couple of pints. I'm such a lightweight! :-)

    -and for no reason other than that it amuses me mildy, a recital of a pome wot someone else wrote wot I like:

    'There are many good reasons for drinking, and one has just entered my head - if a girl can't drink whilst she's living, how the hell can she drink when she's dead?!'

    Right - I've had me fruit and veg smoothie for vitamins, now for the whisky chasers for extra healthfulness...

    1. Pompous Git Silver badge

      Re: Two whole pints?!

      There are many good reasons for drinking, and one has just entered my head

      A toast:

      Here's to the perfect girl,

      I couldn't ask for more.

      She's deaf 'n dumb, oversexed,

      and owns a liquor store.

  29. Diogenes

    There are going to be a lot of people dying surprised

    They never smoked, exercised religiously,walked or cycled instead of using a car, avoided drugs,, drank/didn't drink; booze, coffee, water, milk, Kombucha, wheat grass, green tea etc , ate/didn't eat; their 5 a day, red meat, white meat, fish, protein , carbs, glutens chocolate etc; did yoga, tai chi, meditation, practiced mindfulness etc ; used handsfree mobiles ; had full medicals every six months ; colonic irrigation; massage

    If I sound cynical - mum died 12 years ago today - all the women in her family died of various cancers of the gut (stomach, pancreas, liver, colon etc etc) - so she did everything recommended to prevent it - and firetrucking leukaemia got her !

    1. Korev Silver badge

      Re: There are going to be a lot of people dying surprised

      DNA replication is an error-prone process. Although there are a number of things people can do to "provoke" cancer, some people are just unlucky.

      There was an interesting paper that came out recently showing that even in the first division of the recently fertilised egg there are mutations that are detectable for ever. Paper & press release for the people who aren't genomics geeks

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: There are going to be a lot of people dying surprised

      Many years ago it was common for bookshops to sell poems on small cards like drinks coasters. One took my fancy and still sits on my bathroom shelf as a daily reminder. It has a picture of a man in "convict" striped pyjamas - his mouth foaming from energetic teeth brushing.

      "Bars" by Bridget Rees

      "

      Here stands the prisoner of routine,

      Wears pyjamas, likes jokes clean,

      Scrubs his teeth, is ne'er a rover

      Goes to work and gets run over.

      "

      On e of my own sayings is "If you can see the bars of your life's cage - then you can choose when to break them".

  30. Hans 1 Silver badge
    Pint

    Moderate drinking is good for you

    4 pints/day is moderate drinking for me, so I am all set, then ...

  31. cantankerous swineherd

    but will it replicate?

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The researchers were based in Sheffield home to 57 Craft Breweries more per capita than just about anywhere else - just saying...

  33. MJI Silver badge

    If I get stressed at work I go next door

    Sort of.

    Next building to ours is an old building, black timbers, white paint. A sign on a post. Quiet and relaxing.

    Serve Stowford Press.

    Yes I work very near a pub!

  34. David Roberts Silver badge
    Windows

    A bit more profiling would be helpful

    As noted, information as to why people stopped drinking or didn't start would be good.

    Also any chronic health conditions, level of obesity, level of exercise.

    Intrigued because the traditional "beer belly" is associated with all sorts of medical issues.

    I may be completely wrong but I don't think you get a wine belly (apart from the associated munchies).

    Perhaps the Mediterranean Diet isn't about what you eat but what you drink.

    A diet of strong beer is bad for you?

    Bugger!

  35. tony2heads
    Pint

    I believe this has been known for a while

    A reading from 1 Timothy 5 verse 23:

    "Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and thy frequent infirmities."

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I believe this has been known for a while

      The same reason that children were given small beer rather than water until about 100? years go. The brewing killed most of the harmful organisms present in household water supplies.

  36. Prosthetic Conscience

    OK for the heart

    But what about the strain on the liver combined with our sometimes unhealthy diets, what about coming in the way of quality sleep or just the fact that you're consuming a daily dose of a potent depressant? I'm not trying to preach and the bants is great but I wish they'd also do this kind of research on substances that are made illegal with little scientific backing as well.

  37. Unicornpiss Silver badge
    Happy

    If you're drinking solely for your health anyway..

    ..you're doing it wrong :)

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Despite this compelling research my GP declined my proposal to replace my prescription for Statins with beer.

  39. -tim
    Pint

    What about lunch time?

    So when is someone going to do a study about the lunch time pint and what it does to stressed out office workers?

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