Will Alcohol Just Plain Kill You?

When you have a massive new study, funding by the Gates Foundation, published in the Lancet, you ignore it at your peril.

Can we just start by saying this is an awesome study? Every country in the world broken down and analyzed for alcohol use and health? Just the appendices alone are truly breathtaking.

Deep breath, research geekdom aside. What does the study really say about drinking?

Bottom line: just don’t.

The study, published in the Lancet, was publicized by CNN as saying no amount of alcohol is safe to drink. As the CNN article progressed, there was some hemming and hawing about heart risks being less. CNN also reported the wine and liquor manufacturers’ response, which can be summarized as, “Alcohol turns you into a Leprechaun so you can poop gold and be immortal!” What did we really expect them to say?

So let’s look at the actual Lancet article, not the spin articles. The Lancet article isn’t talking about health risks the way we normally think about them: will this give me heart disease or cancer? Instead, they were looking at the “Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors,” the whole health picture. If you think for just a second about injuries and risky behaviors, you’ll begin to see clearly that alcohol was going down and going down hard. (Let’s get into the details at my website). 

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