Drink Up, America, It's Good for You

Moderate drinking is better than abstinence: Stanton Peele
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 13, 2014 12:28 PM CDT

(Newser) – Those who like a glass of wine or two each day will be happy to read Stanton Peele's essay in Pacific Standard with a headline that nicely sums up his case: "The Truth We Won't Admit: Drinking Is Healthy." Peele sets out not just to back up the assertion that moderate drinking is OK, but to argue that it's a healthier alternative than being a teetotaler. While binge drinking is awful, he writes, even many binge drinkers think they're better off than those who imbibe daily—even though frequent binge drinking is actually "the worst drinking pattern"—because daily drinking is what, to them, smacks of addiction. Plenty of non-binge-drinkers feel the same way.

"Well-informed Americans are often remarkably ignorant about the benefits of moderate drinking and think that abstinence is better for them," writes Peele, who provides an extensive rundown of evidence that moderate drinking is good for the heart, among other things. By world standards, the US isn't a heavy-drinking nation, he writes, yet we have generally lousy health in comparison to nations that are. "The more you drink—up to two drinks a day for woman, and four for men—the less likely you are to die," he writes. "You may have heard that before, and you may have heard it doubted. But the consensus of the science is overwhelming: It is true." Click to read his full column. (Read more alcohol stories.)

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