Chapter 9

Alcohol and Your Health:
The Great Hoax

It’s not that you have been lied to. You’ve just been told a limited portion of the facts. The behemoth multinational corporations that market alcoholic beverages watch their stock prices soar every time a study is published demonstrating that alcohol is good for your health. And drinkers, many of whom are in denial that they have a problem or are in the early stage of alcoholism, can rationalize that their addiction is actually good for them. Is it really?

Mark Twain is quoted as saying that there are three kinds of falsehood: lies, damn lies, and statistics. So it is with data presented by the popular media regarding alcohol:

• The alcohol corporations’ spin doctors tell you only what they want you to know.

• They have narrow and unrealistic definitions of terms that don’t match the public perceptions of drinking.

Narrowly defined, “moderate alcohol consumption” lowers health risk from cardiovascular disease. But it raises risk for various cancers, hepatitis, osteoporosis, immune suppression, accidents, and suicide. They don’t tell you that part. With selective filtration of the facts, the liquor industry continues to advocate alcohol as a beneficial part of a healthful diet. Moderate and heavy drinkers, with denial and rationalization fully operational, proclaim alcohol to be the fountain of youth.