The alcohol industry says moderate drinking is good for you. But most people don’t drink moderately.
May 14, 2018
For the past two decades, the alcohol industry has pushed the message that moderate drinking provides a wealth of health benefits, and therefore should be included as part of a healthy lifestyle. As Mother Jones has reported, alcohol companies have promoted and funded studies suggesting that moderate drinking will make people live longer and ward off heart disease, diabetes, and even dementia. The industry is currently funding a $100 million clinical trial overseen by the National Institutes of Health looking at whether moderate drinking can prevent heart disease.
There are lots of reasons to be skeptical of the industry’s health claims, especially given that alcohol has been proven to raise the risk of a wide range of diseases, including cancer. Many of the studies showing that moderate drinking can be beneficial to heart health are deeply flawed. But even if it were true that alcohol could be a health tonic at moderate levels, there’s a problem with the industry’s marketing strategy: Few people who consume alcohol drink it at the level scientists define as moderate.