Are You A Drunk? And Don’t Know it? (by wineindustryinsight.com)

Posted: March 30, 2013 by wynmaker in Alcohol, Oenology, Research, Wine, World wine news
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The now well-scientifically-established French Paradox — which has driven a wine/health craze since the pivotal 60 Minutes Episode on Nov. 17, 1991 — is all about moderate consumption.

Red wine sales increased 44% after the broadcast … dropped off a bit, then soared again a year later when the program was re-broadcast. As a whole, per-capita consumption in the U.S was in decline until then. And has been on the upswing ever since.

However, wine industry neglect and government guessing, has made the defining of “moderate” an unclear and, perhaps, unhealthy situation.

What’s Moderate? What’s A Drink?

And are you a drunk and don’t know it?

WHAT IS MODERATE DRINKING?

The biggest problem with defining this level concerns how researchers and government agencies gather data.

In general, the vast majority of the hundreds of peer-reviewed scientific studies define “moderate” as 1 drink a day for women and no more than two. For men, that range is 1 to 2 drinks a day but no more than 3 or 4. Weekly consumption for “moderate” is 7 for women and no more than 14 for men.

This site: from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) offers the current definition of Moderate & Binge Drinking. While NIAAA receives almost half a billion dollars per year in tax funds, as far as can be determined, they have never conducted studies on the health benefits of moderate consumption.

That may seem unfair, but they are in keeping with other government-sponsored alcohol organizations including those at the United Nations.

DATA COLLECTION ISSUES PLAGUE “STANDARDIZATION”

The definitions of “moderate” and “binge” are somewhat based on the extensive research showing that moderate drinkers of alcohol live longer and more illness-free lives than either heavy drinkers or abstainers (with corrections for abstainers who do not drink because of illness or other health issues).

However, those definitions are based on self-reported consumption data from alcohol consumers who may underestimate the number of drinks they consume. In addition, most drinkers do not have a precise idea of exactly what constitutes “a drink.”

In the absence of hard data in large population studies in hundreds of scientific papers, government agencies have basically made a wild guess and decided that the “standard” is one that contains a very small amount of alcohol — 14 grams.

This is a timeworn bureaucratic technique: when the facts aren’t available, make one up.

And thus, the “standard” drink was invented based on a guess with no solid facts at all.

But like so many government pronouncements — especially when UNchallenged by private parties — this bureaucratic invention of convenience has achieved the level of dogma.

Read on …

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