Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Image

3 Drinks a Day Keeps the Doctor Away 470

Posted by samzenpus
from the drink-em-if-you-got-em dept.
Nzimmer911 writes "Heavy drinkers outlive non-drinkers according to a 20 years study following 1,824 people. From the article: 'But a new paper in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research suggests that - for reasons that aren't entirely clear - abstaining from alcohol does actually tend to increase one's risk of dying even when you exclude former drinkers. The most shocking part? Abstainers' mortality rates are higher than those of heavy drinkers.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

3 Drinks a Day Keeps the Doctor Away

Comments Filter:
  • stress (Score:3, Interesting)

    by fermion (181285) on Tuesday August 31, 2010 @11:58AM (#33426944) Homepage Journal
    I would say that people who don't drink are also worries. Did I close the door. Have I done all my homework. Are people going to like these shoes. How can I hide that I sleep around from my church. That sort of thing. People who drink may also spend less time worrying about the little details, and therefore have happier longer lives. Probably not, but maybe.
    • by iONiUM (530420)

      They just worry about less things: where is the next drink, and why is it taking so long to come?

      Less stressful.

    • Old News (Score:3, Informative)

      by Serenissima (1210562)
      Well, this has been studied before. This isn't anything new. Alcohol in moderation has been proven to reduce lots of types of disease and medical problems in those who only drink a little. The studies form a J-Curve where those who don't drink in a population have a certain number of (Strokes, heart attacks, etc). Those in the population who drink 1-2 drinks a day show a significant lowering of those symptoms. However, those who drink more than 3 drinks per day have a DRASTIC increase as they have more heal
      • Another link (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Serenissima (1210562)
        Well, I googled and found that previous 2004 study, but now, just seconds later when I click on it, it's behind a paywall of some sort. Here's another link from 2007 showing the same graph [blogspot.com]
      • by vlm (69642)

        This isn't anything new. Alcohol in moderation has been proven to reduce lots of types of disease and medical problems in those who only drink a little.

        Did they correct for financial situation? Any college kid whom ran out of beer money knows what I'm talking about.

      • Re:Old News (Score:4, Insightful)

        by chrisG23 (812077) on Tuesday August 31, 2010 @04:03PM (#33429896)
        Please look at the summary again. The significant part is not that it found that people who drink in moderation live longer than people who abstain, (which is the type of result that you are linking to) it found that PEOPLE WHO ABSTAIN DO NOT LIVE AS LONG AS PEOPLE THAT DRINK HEAVILY. Sorry for the yelling, but I think many people might quickly skim over the summary and assume its the same sort of thing that has already been reported on, moderate drinking has health benefits vs. abstention. This is something else, in this study of some 2,000 people, the results showed that in order of decreasing lifespan it went like this:

        Moderate drinkers > Heavy drinkers > Abstainers

        So now the discussion here can be was the study flawed in some way or is this true and alcohol has some effect, physically, psychologically (because how one feels does have an effect on health) or both on humans that is beneficial to living a long life.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by masmullin (1479239)

          PEOPLE WHO ABSTAIN DO NOT LIVE AS LONG AS PEOPLE THAT DRINK HEAVILY. Sorry for the yelling

          SShhaaadduppp *hic* sop yellin ya jerk ... eess okhey. I luhv you maaahhnn.!

  • Eh (Score:5, Funny)

    by mark72005 (1233572) on Tuesday August 31, 2010 @11:58AM (#33426946)
    Except next week they will "discover" the opposite, and the following week alcohol will cause cancer, and the week after that it will help you lose weight, and next month they'll find that it causes Parkinson's, and then next spring it will be therapeutic for the same illness, and then...
    • by blair1q (305137)

      [citation needed]

      Not for them, for you. Because TFA has one.

      • Re:Eh (Score:4, Insightful)

        by iamhigh (1252742) on Tuesday August 31, 2010 @12:13PM (#33427148)
        Eggs.

        Was good for you. Then bad for you. Now has good cholestorol. It's the prime example of why "studies" are nothing but trash. Follow some people, draw a conclusion based on horribly imperfect information and call it science!
        • Was good for you. Then bad for you. Now has good cholestorol. It's the prime example of why "studies" are nothing but trash. Follow some people, draw a conclusion based on horribly imperfect information and call it science!

          I've significantly increased my consumption of eggs at the recommendation of a nutritionist. In a month or so I'm due another cholesterol test, so we will see if it helped me at all.

          (Aside from losing 13 lbs over the past month.)

        • Re:Eh (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Fulcrum of Evil (560260) on Tuesday August 31, 2010 @12:54PM (#33427670)

          Was good for you. Then bad for you. Now has good cholestorol.

          That's what happens when you listen to some sensationalist muckraker. Fact is, studies will disagree or find different things, and media looking for a thrill will oversimplify in to the crap you just repeated. It's not the scientists' fault, though - blame the 24 hour news cycle.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by sjames (1099)

            Unfortunately, it goes well beyond just the media "this will kill you" of the day. In the case of fats, it has permeated medicine, prescription drugs, and nutritional advice of all sorts. It's now a multi-billion dollar industry. There is evidence to support that the mass jump onto the bandwagon is at least in part to blame for the rise of obesity and diabetes.

            In the case of alcohol, studies have rather consistently found that moderate drinkers have the lowest mortality rate. TFA does not disagree. It just

    • by istartedi (132515)

      Except next week they will "discover" the opposite...

      Yeah. It's enough to drive me to drink.

    • Re:Eh (Score:4, Informative)

      by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Tuesday August 31, 2010 @12:17PM (#33427202)

      That's not the opposite.

      This study measures a fact (death certificates vs reported drink rates).

      Facts can vary with each collections but don't tend to reverse.

      You can discover a problem with your collection methods but these researchers have other papers and have been doing this a while so it's unlikely (google their names).

      • Atherosclerosis (Score:5, Interesting)

        by IdahoEv (195056) on Tuesday August 31, 2010 @12:36PM (#33427454) Homepage

        This country is so very freaked about mind-altering substances, vices, and "sins", that it doesn't get talked about much. But the truth is it's been known for over a century that drinkers have cleaner arteries. Thinner blood, and/or some chemistry with the alcohol seems to help keep the plaques from forming.

        Very heavy and binge drinking does start to cause other problems - and these results are what people bandy about in order to bash alcohol as a deadly vice. But it's been clear for a long time that moderate drinking can avoid those problems while still resulting in cleaner arteries. And since heart disease is the single biggest killer in the first world, it should be no surprise at all that anything which can reduce atherosclerosis results in a noticeable decrease in the death rate.

        Nothing about this study is news to anyone who's paid attention to the science, anytime in the last hundred years.

      • Re:Eh (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Alef (605149) on Tuesday August 31, 2010 @01:01PM (#33427766)
        Disclaimer: I haven't read the study (it is apparently not accessible from Sweden through the link).

        This study measures a fact (death certificates vs reported drink rates).

        A fact is not something that you measure. You can collect statistical data, and you can try to infer a conclusion from the data. There are all sorts of ways to make the wrong conclusion though, depending on how the data was collected, if it involved subjectivity somewhere, if there are some underlying mechanisms you are not modelling, whether you are incorrectly assuming that correlation implies causation etc. etc. (see for instance Wikipedia. [wikipedia.org])

        The study might measure a number of death certificates (where? when?) and reported drinking rates (reported how?) as you say, but whether that means that "Heavy Drinkers Outlive Nondrinkers" (if that is even what they study says, I'm quoting the Time article) is a rather far-reaching conclusion someone has made, possibly incorrectly. Maybe they forgot to compensate for some important factor; Perhaps people with predisposition for some deceases (are told to) avoid alcohol? Perhaps those who avoid alcohol have some personality trait that make them more stressed, working longer hours, or sleeping less, which in turn could be detrimental to life expectancy? And if there in fact is a positive connection between drinking and life expectancy, does it apply to everyone or just a small part of the population? Maybe alcohol works as a light medication for depression, helping some but harming most?

        Facts can vary with each collections but don't tend to reverse.

        Scientific conclusions change all the time.

        • Re:Eh (Score:5, Informative)

          by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Tuesday August 31, 2010 @01:16PM (#33427940)

          There's nothing I can disagree with in your post. All those are reasonable and plausible points.

          However, the study was done by experienced researchers (who have other papers on alcohol, depression vs alcohol, and alcoholism) and controlled for most of the things you raised (including people being told to avoid alcohol).

          No data collection will ever come out the same (I learned that back in college lab. Everyone got similar but different data in the same damn room with very simple things to measure).

          The study could be wrong, but it fits with prior moderate drinking data. One of the problems of our puritan heritage is that this kind of data (especially for pot and Nixon) has been suppressed in the past. And another problem is when the people collecting the data have an agenda.

          Looking over the other papers by two of the authors, it seemed to me they are the classic dry scientist types and lack an agenda.

          I'm not a teetotaler, moderate drinker or heavy drinker. I'm a sub moderate drinker (1/10th to 1/2 a drink a day) who has a couple heavy drinking vacations a year.

    • I don't think I've ever seen a study on the long term effects of Alcohol that didn't reach the same conclusion as this study. It's paradoxical since the short term effects can be fatal, and as the article says it's known to cause specific diseases (like cancer). You should read up on it (or at least read the fucking article).

    • by Abstrackt (609015)

      Except next week they will "discover" the opposite, and the following week alcohol will cause cancer, and the week after that it will help you lose weight, and next month they'll find that it causes Parkinson's, and then next spring it will be therapeutic for the same illness, and then...

      Some citations to save the day then! (Attention pedants: Yes, I know these citations are all about beer and not alcohol specifically. Buy me a pint and we can discuss this matter further!)

      Beer isn't fattening [theregister.co.uk], fights cancer [theregister.co.uk] and heart disease [theregister.co.uk] all while making you smarter! [theregister.co.uk]

      • All of which are probably outdone and overdone by the corresponding weight gain in most people.
  • Stress? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Hatta (162192) on Tuesday August 31, 2010 @11:59AM (#33426974) Journal

    I imagine tightwad teetotalers live lives consumed with mental stress. If you're so uptight and judgmental that you can't even enjoy a single drink, that's got to have a lot of negative influences on your state of mind. I can see how that would translate from mental health to physical health, giving us the results we see here.

    • by rwven (663186)

      While I wouldn't be so bitter in my analysis, there's probably a great deal of scientific truth to what you're saying...

      • by Hatta (162192)

        Yep. We already know that stress releases cortisol, which can cause a number of physical problems. I wonder if we'd find higher cortisol levels in non-drinkers than in drinkers.

        There's also the old saw about people who don't drink, they're not the kind of people you would want to drink with anyway. That's consistent with non-drinkers being somewhat stuffier.

    • Re:Stress? (Score:5, Funny)

      by Sinistar2k (225578) on Tuesday August 31, 2010 @12:16PM (#33427190)

      Honestly, the only time I feel stress about being a tightwad teetotaler is when people offer to buy me a drink or try to hand me a beer and then express shock that I'm alcohol averse.

      But then, I masturbate a lot, so maybe I just relieve stress in other ways.

    • Re:Stress? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by FoboldFKY (785255) on Tuesday August 31, 2010 @12:17PM (#33427198)

      I don't drink. But it's not because I'm a tightwad: I just hate the taste of alcohol. I can taste it in seemingly trace amounts in everything other than drinks with ridiculous amounts of sugar.

      There is a smaller reason in that I've seen a lot of people, including friends, do... inadvisable things while drunk. The thought of not being in possession of my faculties and not being able to tell scares me.

      I also know I have a somewhat addictive personality. So on the whole, I think I'll continue to not drink booze.

      • by Nursie (632944)

        "There is a smaller reason in that I've seen a lot of people, including friends, do... inadvisable things while drunk"

        Yeah, but I bet they were laughing their asses off whilst they were doing it.

        Drinking to excess once in a while is fun an d a great way to blow off steam. It's also dangerous and antisocial, which makes it even more appealing to some of us :)

      • I don't drink. But it's not because I'm a tightwad: I just hate the taste of alcohol. I can taste it in seemingly trace amounts in everything other than drinks with ridiculous amounts of sugar.

        Yeah. Ethyl alcohol doesn't exactly taste good. That's one reason I prefer liquor when actually trying to get drunk -- you don't have to drink as much liquid with alcohol in it.

        To some extent it is an acquired taste.

        There is a smaller reason in that I've seen a lot of people, including friends, do... inadvisable things while drunk. The thought of not being in possession of my faculties and not being able to tell scares me.

        In my experience it's not that bad. If you're worried I suggest experiments in a controlled setting until you get a good idea of what the effects of alcohol are on you. By golly, by the time I'm even thinking of doing inadvisable things I know I am not in possession of my faculties!

        I also know I have a somewhat addictive personality. So on the whole, I think I'll continue to not drink booze.

        That might be

      • by Culture20 (968837)

        I don't drink. But it's not because I'm a tightwad: I just hate the taste of alcohol. I can taste it in seemingly trace amounts in everything other than drinks with ridiculous amounts of sugar.

        Yes. A thousand times.

      • by Grishnakh (216268)

        I don't like the taste much either. The only alcoholic drinks I drink are wines (and champagnes), and even then only in very small quantities, and not very often.

        Also, I've found that the more expensive the wine, the worse it tastes. The cheapest stuff is the best, especially when it's a sparkling variety. Try a glass of Asti Spumanti champagne, for instance (it's basically the cheapest champagne out there). It's pretty sweet, a lot like a soda drink. The more expensive stuff isn't as sweet, and probab

      • Re:Stress? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by insertwackynamehere (891357) on Tuesday August 31, 2010 @02:57PM (#33429160) Journal

        Maybe one day if you try drinking you will find that unless you reach a serious blackout level of alcohol (something you can avoid if you are smart and not an alcoholic), most of the "loss of control" is really just a combination of lowered inhibitions and the social acceptance of having lowered inhibitions when you and the people around you are also drinking. I honestly think the lowered inhibitions, while definitely present from alcohol alone, is compounded by the fact that its a convenient little excuse where it's like "we're all drinking we can all have fun and do things we wouldn't otherwise do". Society sees alcohol as a social lubricant so it only makes it more of one.

        I used to not drink either. I didn't drink freshman year of college and the beginning of sophomore year. To each their own. But it really doesn't have to be scary or ridiculous. You don't lose control unless you have a problem, have no experience (and dont try to gain it before diving in) or want to. Furthrmore, most people who say "I am so drunk" are probably just enjoying the fact that everyone else is saying the same thing and everyone feels much more at ease because of the social bonding aspect of the whole thing.

    • Some people just hate the taste of alcohol.

      And a lot of people around the world can't consume it (and would probably die much earlier if they did).

      But if the reasons are mental/philosophical I completely agree with you.

      And in those cases, pot would probably serve just as well. Let's hope it is legalized in california this fall!

      Much better for diabetics.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by CheshireCatCO (185193)

      You do know that many non-drinkers have no intrinsic problem with drinking, but abstain for a variety of personal reasons, right? To me, alcohol takes foul and triggers migraines, so I avoid it. (I have no actual problem with anyone else drinking, usual cavaets about moderation, driving, etc. in effect.) I have friends who come from families of alcoholics and who therefore avoid alcohol for pretty obvious reasons. Frankly, you're been pretty insulting to all of us with your generalizations.

      (For that m

    • by NEW22 (137070)

      Why is someone who doesn't drink necessarily a tightwad? Is a person who doesn't drink also necessarily judgemental? Your comment could be read as being pretty judgemental itself.

      Also, the 2nd sentence... "If you're so uptight and judgemental you can't even enjoy a single drink, that's got to have a lot of negative influence on your state of mind."...

      Can't you use that same logic for any other activity other than drinking? "If you're so uptight and judgmental you can't even enjoy a single prostitute/line

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Effexor (544430)
        It's pretty clear from this that you are the sort of uptight and judgemental person who's never snorted coke off the ass of a rent boy while eating a bacon butter cheeseburger and enjoying a refreshing ice cold mountain dew. Clearly you need to learn to unwind.
    • Its a balancing act. Alcoholics will kill themselves much faster than any non-drinker. I think the main benefits of Alcohol are stress relief, vitamins and blood thinning. Alcoholic beverages have been proven to have many health benefiting compounds in them. Also, why use an anti-anxiety pill when a drink works just as good and is OTC?
    • I don't drink because I don't like the stuff, people told me I'd get use to it, but Brussel Sprouts taste fucking horrible but nobody defends them. A double standard exists because of its assumed positive social aspects. If I found something I did like (which I have), why should I start drinking it, people who don't know me very well say I should do it to be social orm ake me fee life I'm missing out on not being drunk. But I also don't drink because daddy use to come home at night and he wasn't a happy
  • by rwven (663186)

    I'd wager it has something to do with the relative stress levels of the people.

    Alcohol is great for relaxing, and one might argue that people who are wine or beer drinkers tend to be more laid back across the board.

    Alcohol can also kill off yucky bacteria that you might have in your throat or mouth.

    It can also thin your blood a bit and decrease the risk of blood clots and various other things of that sort.

    • by Culture20 (968837)

      Alcohol can also kill off yucky bacteria that you might have in your throat or mouth.

      Did they classify people who use mouthwash as "drinkers"?

  • Beer (Score:4, Interesting)

    by DrgnDancer (137700) on Tuesday August 31, 2010 @12:01PM (#33427014) Homepage

    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." - Attributed to Ben Franklin and I'm too lazy to verify it.

    I don't find this information at all surprising, but I'm happy enough to hear it. make mine a double too.

  • We've know for a LONG time that teetotalers had higher rates of heart attacks than social drinkers. Abstention from alcohol is unnatural - even apes have been found to make home brew using fruits. And where do you think the "milk from contented cows" came from? That silage at the end of the winter stinks of alcohol, it's been partially fermenting for months.
    • by Mashiki (184564)

      Dunno. I'm the first person in my family who hasn't been in farming in some form or another and I've never heard the term "milk from contented cows" before. However making your own silohooch is easy as dumping a jug at the bottom of your silo, filling it up and waiting.

      • by nelsonal (549144)
        It was a marketing slogan for California? dairy products. If you didn't live in the West coast (west of the rocky mountains it's likely you'd never hear of it), as dairy products are split into two major markets (east of the rockies where milk prices are based on your distance from Eau Claire, WI and west of the Rockys where they're set by other criteria. Maintaining that price is the source of government cheese.
      • I'm the first person in my family who hasn't been in farming in some form or another and I've never heard the term "milk from contented cows" before.

        Carnation Evaporated Milk [wikipedia.org]

  • Well yea... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Last_Available_Usern (756093) on Tuesday August 31, 2010 @12:09PM (#33427104)
    It's easy to avoid sports-related, travelling, or stress-related fatalities if you're passed out on the deck.
  • I have a theory (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Ubergrendle (531719) on Tuesday August 31, 2010 @12:10PM (#33427116) Journal
    While the WC Fields wino-stereotype is quite common in fiction, its actually not very common in the real world. Most alcoholics tend to be thin, and to a lesser extend borderline malnourished. Their poison of choice is alcohol, it occupies most of their spare time. In contrast, most western nations now have major dietary problems -- most people are overweight due to lifestyle, choice of foods, and lack of exercise. Its not that alcoholics or heavy drinkers are more healthy, its that they're not as unhealthy as the median (of fatties and smokers).
    • by Nursie (632944)

      Well, to be fair, they're not saying alcoholics live longer, just that heavy drinkers do. There's a difference between an addict who is poisoning themselves thin with it, and the fat jolly man that has a fair number of beers a few more times a week than we thought was healthy.

    • by shaper (88544)
      Repeat after me: an alcoholic is not someone who drinks a lot of alcohol, an alcoholic is someone who can't control their behavior when they do drink. That's why there is no "safe" level of consumption for an alcoholic. And the general population of alcoholics is so diverse it is difficult to make sweeping general statements like "Most alcoholics tend to be thin". The truth is that alcoholics vary about as much as the general population in most factors with the exception of their inability to control the
  • Confusion... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Twinbee (767046) on Tuesday August 31, 2010 @12:11PM (#33427130) Homepage

    I think what confuses me more than the result is why this study hadn't already been performed already. It's such an obvious study that everyone would be interested about.

    What gives?

  • by sco08y (615665) on Tuesday August 31, 2010 @12:16PM (#33427192)

    Three drinks a day is moderate. If you regularly have a few drinks with friends after work, you're not drinking heavily. This is the same kind of nonsense as the claim that five or six drinks in two hours constitutes a binge. I don't know why the hell we let people who hate the idea of a good time dictate what's socially acceptable, to the point where anyone who doesn't conform is labeled an alcoholic and stuck in a treatment / proselytizing program.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Taibhsear (1286214)

      I think what you meant to say is, "Hi, my name is sco08y and I'm an alcoholic."

      I do agree with you though.
      I mean, "Hi, my name is Taibhsear and I'm an alcoholic."

    • by jpmorgan (517966) on Tuesday August 31, 2010 @01:09PM (#33427838) Homepage

      Everybody likes to think of themselves as normal.

      The US department of health defines 'moderate' drinking as 1 drink per day, and heavy drinking as anything above 2 drinks per day. http://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/faqs.htm#moderateDrinking [cdc.gov]

      According to a study in the American Journal of Epidemiology, only about 10% of Americans have more than 2 drinks per day. By comparison, over 35% of Americans consider themselves abstainers. More than half the population has at most one drink, if they drink at all. http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/short/153/1/64 [oxfordjournals.org]

      Now, I'm not saying there's anything wrong with your level of alcohol consumption, this study suggests you're probably healthier than those 35% abstainers. But stop fooling yourself: you're consuming several times the normal amount of alcohol and by any reasonable definition, you are a heavy drinker.

    • by matunos (1587263) on Tuesday August 31, 2010 @01:24PM (#33428032)

      You tell 'em! Just cause you have 3 drinks every day while you're socializing with your friends at the dive bar near the free clinic doesn't make you an alcoholic! Who says it does? I'll kick their damn ass! You can't talk about a person like... without knowing what... why their friends are the best guys in the whole... you should see when they're on the street and I told him 'look bub, you don't ever talk to a carney like that and not get a bit of dirt on your chin'. You're a real cool guy, y'know? We should get together sometime and hang out more. One time I saw this raccoon right out front of the door and I was like 'hey! what are we at war all about?!'... Zzzz...

  • whenever someone complained they couldn't go out drinking due to being sick, we used to say, "alcohol kills all germs!"

    Looks like we were right.
  • There goes my pension plan: looks like I can't drink myself to the point where I won't live long enough to need a pension...
  • ...probably helps keep people happy, and happy people are usually less stressed out. Wine is good for the heart. Liquor helps kill germs and sterilize, right? Beer is good for any reason.

    Now how to space it so I'm always happy....

  • one per person.
  • The sample of those who were studied included individuals between ages 55 and 65 who had had any kind of outpatient care in the previous three years. The 1,824 participants were followed for 20 years. One drawback of the sample: a disproportionate number, 63%, were men. Just over 69% of the never-drinkers died during the 20 years, 60% of the heavy drinkers died and only 41% of moderate drinkers died.

    What's missing is information on the uncertainty. The difference between 60% and 69% mortality isn't that much in a study this small. If you divide up the participants equally into three categories, I can easily see the two values being not statistically significantly different. (It's harder to imagine the 41% isn't significantly lower, though.)

  • These studies are not new, and doctors have known about the 'J' shaped curve for a while - where abstaining is correlated with high all-cause mortality than moderate alcohol intake, but heavy intake is associated with increased mortality too. However, these studies have only shown a correlation, not a causation, and until we have a randomised control trial (which is unlikely ever to happen) this is unlikely to be proven clearly. There is some suggestion that the correlation may be to do with a confounding

  • But, as we learned [slashdot.org] yesterday, sitting down kills, so I guess there are some stand-up drinkers bumping up the average somewhere.

  • After hearing about this, the Daleks have instituted a strict regimen of daily alcohol intake to ward of The Oncoming Storm...

"'Tis true, 'tis pity, and pity 'tis 'tis true." -- Poloniouius, in Willie the Shake's _Hamlet, Prince of Darkness_

Working...