Giving up drinking?

The new report, published Thursday in The Lancet and boasting 120 co-authors, aggregated data from multiple studies of drinking patterns and health outcomes among nearly 600,000 people in 19 high-income countries.
And the conclusion they came to is that any amount of alcohol is bad for you.
But before you start pouring booze down the drain, perhaps it might be worth thinking about how it is possible to carry out this sort of study.
It is hard to imagine that a team of researchers went around taking blood samples from more than half a million people twice a day for 20 years or more. Much more likely they extracted their epidemiological data from medical records and that information was obtained from patients by asking “How much do you drink?” Now it is well known that drinkers are prone to “misrember” what their actual consumption has been, so the chances are that only a small proportion of their sample were genuine moderate drinkers who rigidly followed the guidelines.
Far be it from me to encourage anyone to drink more, but I think one commentator got it just about right “The new research does not suggest that a drinker who has just a little too much every day is falling off an epidemiological cliff. Instead, a little bit too much causes a little lower life expectancy.”


Thank heavens I only take alcohol for medicinal purposes… :wink::relaxed:

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Santé, à la votre, Mike! Et à la consommation avec moderation ! :wine_glass::slight_smile:

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Having suffered an AVC, the hospital doctor told me I neede to change my lifestyle.
I did.
Now, the only alcohol I use is contained in my handwash 5 times a day after using auto-sondage,
Still go to our local bar though just to wind up mine host by insisting on a cup of tea :grin::grin:

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What shocked me when I went back into the acute side of health care after a gap was how many older people actually triggered the warning level for alcohol input. The standard image is of a young person heavy drinking and it isn’t always so

If you read the research study you will find that the methodology was a tad more sophisticated. In general these aggregate studies, like Cochrane studies, are more reliable.

So for example consumption was grouped into categories - and whilst I agree with you that people tend to underestimate their consumption - this misremembering may well have been quite consistent. However the study itself acknowledges this

"Nevertheless, our study has some potential limitations. Self-reported alcohol consumption data are prone to bias and are challenging to harmonise across studies conducted over different time periods that used varying instruments and methods to record such data. We did not, however, identify major differences in results across studies that used differing alcohol measurement instruments. "

And it’s conclusion is pretty much common sense to me…If you drink alcohol it will have a negative effect on your health/life expectancy. And the more you drink, the bigger effect.

So as with everything else it’s a personal choice about what risks you wish to take - whether driving a car, white water rafting, eating nothing but dairy products or having an extra couple of glasses every day.

I’m lucky enough that because of the drugs I have to take I have regular blood tests, which is a good reminder as it flags up if I’ve been a touch heavy handed! But it also bugs me hugely that the alcohol content of wine has increased so hard to find nice wine under 12.5%.


Alcohol (being a poison) is bad for you, what a shock.

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I have to say I think there are some fundamental problems with epidemiological methodologies. Although of course they can identify some relationship between, say, drinking and health problems, they are often weak when it comes to identifying whether or not this is a genuinely causal relationship, or whether, for example, there are other factors underlying both the drinking and the health problems. I know they try to adjust for such factors - but in general I find that when you look in detail at these adjustments, they are not really thorough. The problem is compounded by media reporting, which often glosses over caveats within the research papers themselves in order to emphasise an eye-catching ‘discovery’.
I tend to wait until the actual physical mechanism of causality is understood before taking too much notice.

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I stopped drinking for 2 years, I lost 2 stone and felt healthier.

I’ve started drinking again, the last couple of years, 2 stone back on feel less healthy.

Listen to your body :slight_smile:


I was surprised that they didn’t include road deaths, accidents at work and in the home and drownings, where alcohol is often a factor. Just as much a health risk as a wrecked liver or a dicky ticker!

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I’ll drink to that!

Hic :slight_smile:

Very pertinentand well-observed qualification, I think, Geof.

“The word ‘cause’ is the altar of an unknown god”

William James

They’re going to tell me chips are bad for me next! :unamused:

I give up drinking…frequently

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Like smoking Phil, it’s stoppin’ startin’ again, is the hard bit :wink:

I stopped twenty two years ago. Apart from the fact that it may have done for me by now my quality of life has improved beyond measure. The hard part is not going without but suffering those who drink.

How/why, do you “suffer” ?

I can’t answer for @letstryagain, Bill, but perhaps ‘suffer’ means in this case ‘allow, or make allowances for’ (as in the biblical sense of ‘suffer the little children…’).

Make allowances for what, one might ask?

Allowances for the slight defensiveness some of us drinkers may show when somehow ‘challenged’ by an abstainer? This debate has done that for me, and I am questioning my own habit, because that’s what it’s become, and all habits invite a little sober reflection. It won’t, I admit, be the first time! Santé, à la tienne ! :grinning:

Not being defensive Pete, just curious :slightly_smiling_face: