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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Beer will kill you or, uh, make you healthier

Scanning the headlines today, I see two amusingly contrasting stories.  First, from Britain
The UK Faculty of Public Health, which represents some 3,300 public health specialists across a wine range of disciplines, says the dangers of alcohol are so great that tobacco-style health warnings are needed.

‘Alcohol is a dangerous drug, and the more you consume, the more the dangers increase,’ [Professor Mark Bellis, the FPH’s spokesman] said. ‘The important thing is for people to understand those dangers....  Anyone who promotes alcohol as beneficial just demonstrates the need for these sorts of warnings.’
The bold is mine, and I highlight it as a gorgeous segue to this piece, called Ten Healthier Beers:
Feeling guilty about knocking a few back? It might be time to stop! Beer consumption has been shown to help protect against heart disease and lower the risk of hypertension with moderate consumption.
As rational adults know, alcohol can be both healthy and dangerous.  Lying about this fact seems a poor place to start a public health campaign.


  1. I like the typo in the first article: "3,300 public health specialists across a WINE range of disciplines"

  2. Frankly, all those reports about the health benefits of drinking beer (or wine) have bored me so much that every time I see one, I feel like drinking myself into a stupor...

  3. Lying about this fact seems a poor place to start a public health campaign.

    Governments have never been known for their commitment to honesty.

  4. The Guardian article on the same subject has a response from the Dept of Health:

    Government action looks unlikely. The Department of Health said it agreed information should be provided to help people make healthy choices. But a spokesman added: "Cigarette-style health warnings are not applicable to alcohol. All levels of smoking are bad for your health, but the same cannot be said for alcohol consumption."

    Ministers are working with the industry to encourage greater production of lower-strength drinks, and planned to introduce a minimum unit price, he added.

    So the real debate remains in the realm of minimum pricing and ABV. Because all those beers above 4.2% are just loopy juice...