Turns Out, Alcohol is Good For Your Health!

Tyler Durden's Photo
by Tyler Durden
Sunday, Dec 24, 2023 - 11:00 PM

Authored by Tony Edwards via,

Will you sign up to Dry January this year? If you do, you won’t be alone.

According to its organisers, you’ll join a staggering nine million drinkers who are expected to don the hair shirt of for a whole month.

Why would you do it?

To prove to yourself you’re not an alcoholic, to virtue signal or to improve your health ? 0ne or more of those certainly.

Dry January was first invented 10 years ago by a U.K. charity called Alcohol Concern with a single purpose: “To reset after a month or two of holiday festivities (such as) office parties, fun nights out, and boozy nights in.”

Fair enough, perhaps, after an over-indulgent Christmas. But the goalposts have since been uprooted and replanted throughout the whole year. In February 2023, the charity (now rebranded as Alcohol Change) launched another abstinence drive: “Sober Spring – your three month break from alcohol, your chance to break habits, start new ones and experience life alcohol-free.” Hmm… What with the invention of two more monthly clones, Sober October and Sober September, there soon won’t be many more days in the year for drinkers to quaff a bevy or two without looking over their shoulders to see who’s eyeing them accusingly.

It’s beginning to look like a return of the Temperance Movement by stealth. In the 19th Century, drinkers were exhorted to “sign the pledge”, undertaking to renounce alcohol for life. Today, that pledge has now morphed into an app on your phone, enabling Alcohol Change to monitor your behaviour, and remotely shame you if you succumb to the temptations of the demon drink. In the 1800s, the Temperance Movement was all about preventing domestic violence; today it’s about preventing ill-health.

I’m a medical research journalist and I first got interested in this issue after stumbling across the fact that although booze “contains” lots of calories, it does not make you put on weight. Clinical trials on human volunteers, as well as experiments on rats and mice, have demonstrated this surprising fact conclusively. The evidence is clear: if you replace food calories with alcohol calories, you will lose weight. And yet the medical authorities have repeatedly told us that drinking causes weight gain, one of many health reasons to give up drinking.

That mismatch between medical advice and medical evidence set me on the path of seeing what else ‘they’ were misleading us about. That led to a deep dive into the published medical research and my discovery that, although the health authorities were routinely bombarding us with anti-alcohol rhetoric, there are astonishing health benefits from drinking.

Seriously? Can alcohol really be good for your health?


In addition to the weight issue, the evidence shows that sensible drinkers have less heart disease, less diabetes, less dementia and often even less cancer than teetotallers. Those, plus a myriad of other health benefits, have the predictable upshot that moderate drinkers live longer and healthier lives than non-drinkers. Those discoveries were the meat of my 2013 book on the subject: The Good News About Booze, a deliberately populist title intended to disguise the fact that the book was a serious in-depth enquiry based on literally hundreds of references to evidence published in international medical journals.

After that, I thought I had finished with alcohol as a topic, but I recently had a rethink.

In the last seven years, without any evidence to support the clampdown, the medical authorities have begun turning the screws on drinkers. Again, it all started in Britain where in 2016 the existing alcohol guidelines were slashed in half, setting the upper safe limit at two units a day. What’s two units? Less than a pint of beer, a small glass of wine, or a shot of whisky – so almost a maiden aunt’s level of intake. Nevertheless, we were warned that exceeding even that very low level would harm our health. In fact, England’s then Chief Medical Officer, Sally Davies, went further, trumpeting that the latest research showed that “there is no safe level of alcohol intake”. Really? How come?

It turned out she had commissioned a survey of the existing research data from Sheffield University– a questionable source, as Sheffield is a bit-part player on the international alcohol research stage. In any case, we now know, thanks to journalist Chris Snowdon’s Freedom of Information ferreting, that Sheffield initially reported quite a lot of Good News about alcohol and health. However, that displeased the CMO who ordered the university to downplay alcohol’s health benefits and ramp up its hazards. The final Sheffield report, which incidentally was never formally published in a peer-reviewed journal, then became the justification for the new British guidelines…. which were, to put it mildly, based on dubious science.

Nevertheless, the 2016 British anti-alcohol initiative soon spread around the world, with many countries also reducing their guideline levels, sometimes to ridiculously low levels. For example, Holland, despite its liberal laws about marijuana smoking, now reckons that drinking more than half a bottle of lager a day will shorten your life. And even the French, who until a decade ago had no official guidelines at all, have now decided that drinking more than the quarter litre carafe of wine which every Frenchman has with his lunch, is a health hazard.

I was puzzled. I was pretty sure the health evidence about drinking hadn’t significantly changed since my 2013 book, but I decided to check. Another deep dive into the evidence did indeed reveal some apparently worrying findings. There was a major Cambridge University research paper with a sample size of over half a million people which said it had disproved the idea that drinking had any health benefits whatsoever. An even bigger study conducted in China claimed the same. A third said that drinking wine is as dangerous as smoking.

However, on examination, none of these stacked up. The Cambridge claim was straightforward misinformation: its study had in fact found health benefits from drinking, but had buried the positive findings in the depths of a voluminous appendix. The Chinese study was of questionable value, as it’s well known that Orientals genetically respond to alcohol very differently from Europeans. As for the ‘wine is as harmful as tobacco’ study, it offered not a scrap of evidence for the claim.

By contrast, my deep dive into the research database did reveal some new, very positive information about alcohol and health – in particular, the benefits of wine. It also meant I could assess the value of the new entrants in the wine arena since my 2013 book: organic/biodynamic and alcohol-free wines. I was intrigued to discover what extra health punch they each might provide; the answers greatly surprised me.

The result is a new book The Very Good News about Wine, which came out this month. Citing over three hundred studies published from the 1970s to the present, the book is a serious challenge to the anti-alcohol propaganda increasingly dominating the media – largely driven by a nefarious alliance of the medical authorities, a small coterie of vocal anti-alcohol activists and Alcohol Change.

My hope is that people will use the book as an authoritative resource when they next hear another rent-a-pundit trotting out the old saw that wine’s supposed health benefits are “an old wives’ tale” (quote, Sally Davies). 50 years of solid medical data are a rare example of where the science is settled: it cannot easily be overturned by anything you might read in your daily newspaper, trumpeting the latest shock-horror discovery that a glass of wine will tip you into an early grave.

So will you sign up to Dry January?

Personally I won’t, as the medical evidence is overwhelming that drinking a few glasses of wine with an evening meal is good for one’s health. You may have different motives, of which proving to yourself you’re not an alcoholic seems superficially attractive. On the other hand, you wouldn’t want to give up brushing your teeth for a month, or stop your daily exercise routines – two addictions you should embrace, as they’re obviously health-promoting. In principle, moderate wine drinking is no different.

Of course, it’s ‘your body, your choice’ whether you take the January pledge or not. However, Alcohol Change probably won’t give a toss one way or the other. The organisation’s latest accounts show that their dry months marketing ploys have already netted them over £12 million in assets.

Temperance propaganda is clearly Very Good News for them too.

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The Very Good News About Wine by Tony Edwards is available on Amazon priced £10.99.