A couple weeks ago I blogged about a statistic that scared the shit out of me. In a humorous nutshell, it was a statistic that said if you’re an alcoholic you’d have as much chance of beating a prime Usain Bolt to the empty seat on the train than you would staying away from booze for the rest of your life.
Compared to this often-touted statistic, that one’s a ray of sunshine: teetotalers live shorter lives than people who drink moderately and responsibly.
One scientific study found that wine sniffing snobs are much more likely to find out the exact configuration of the veins on the back of their hands than people who are white-knuckling it every day, fighting the good fight.
On the surface, it seems safe to assume that drinking the occasional glass of wine might be good for you heart or some shit, but not so fast.
Before you decide to burn all your AA chips in a ritualistic fire and rush off to your nearest liquor store, for, umm, health reasons, it’s important to understand where this conclusion came from and why it’s implication that low-level alcohol consumption has health benefits is flawed.
The study in question compared two sets of groups: teetotalers and moderate drinkers. I don’t know how they defined ‘moderate,’ but let’s assume for the purpose of this blog post the researchers meant the type of wine drinkers who are more concerned with the region from which the wine comes than getting out their calculators and working out how much bang for their buck they get between Irish Rose and the new addition to the bum wine shelf that has an ominous green hue.
The majority of teetotalers are made up of AA-going, coffee-drinking, chain-smoking alcoholics in recovery. If you come across someone at a party who’s sipping soda water despite their being neither a designated driver nor pregnant, they’re much more likely to be a sober booze hound than that rare breed who “doesn’t like the taste of alcohol” or “can totally have a good time without it” and doesn’t understand the popularity of getting shitfaced.
More importantly and less humorously, alcoholics in recovery are much more likely to make unhealthy lifestyle choices. They would, because they have enough on their plates just staying off the booze.
On the flipside, moderate drinkers are much more likely to make other healthy lifestyle choices like reducing their red meat intake or committing themselves to the torture of spin class once or twice a week. We can go ahead and assume that group doesn’t go to AA a couple times a week and is the first out of the door to take a cigarette break halfway through the session.
So what we’re really comparing are tracksuit-wearing health freaks to people who have a propensity to skip exercise for sitting in a dimly-lit room, listening to slow jazz, as they smoke a cigarette and think about all the bad shit they did when they were a drunk.
If we were take the track-suit-wearing, bicycle-pump-owning demographic of non-drinkers and compared them to their wine-pedantic counterparts, there’s no doubt that the conclusion made would be that drinking the occasional glass of wine has zero health benefits.
That’s right, Hilariously Sober is happy to report that drinking red wine probably isn’t good for your heart or some shit.
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