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Is A Small Amount Of Alcohol Good For You?

Those of you that have seen me for weight control visits have heard me talk about the negative impact of alcohol consumption on metabolism.  If someone is struggling with weight control and they are drinking alcohol to any extent, I strongly recommend that they give it up or significantly reduce the amount of consumption.  These recommendations are met with this statement:  “I heard that 1-2 glasses of red wine are good for you.”  Red wine contains resveratrol which is a potent antioxidant.   Antioxidants have been shown to produce anti-inflammatory effects that may be beneficial to prevent certain diseases such as coronary artery blockage.

A study published this week in Nature Magazine conducted by Oxford Population Health and Peking University showed that alcohol intake, even in small amounts, increases the risk of over 60 diseases including many not previously linked to alcohol usage.  In addition to the commonly known alcohol-related diseases such as cirrhosis, hepatitis and liver cancer, there were almost 30 other diseases linked to alcohol usage such as cataracts and bone fractures that were not previously known to be alcohol related.  

This study was performed in China following over 500,000 men for a number of years.  The number of hospitalizations were also markedly increased in alcohol users.  The amounts of alcohol consumed also correlated with the severity of diseases.

Concerning the issue of the positive impact of antioxidants found in alcohol: We can all obtain antioxidants in the form of supplements containing no alcohol along with them.  Therefore the calming thoughts that red wine is “good for you” needs to be eliminated.

My role as your doctor is not to take away all of your fun activities.  However, it is important to point out the negatives of various behavioral patterns and clearly, alcohol, in any form, (including those coveted glasses of wine) is NOT “good for you”.  The less the better!

And here is Neil Diamond singing about “Red Red Wine”.

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