It’s that day of the week when most of us look forward to a relaxing glass of wine or something stronger post 5 pm. Personally, I’m a red wine girl and drink very few other alcoholic drinks but lately, I’ve found the pleasure of my favourite Rioja has been significantly dimmed. I find myself wondering how safe is a glass of wine?
I drink approximately one large glass roughly five times a week (some weeks, like holidays, much more) and, thanks to the ramshackle and seemingly arbitrary nature of the reporting surrounding alcohol and its health benefits and dangers, each glass is like a game of Russian Roulette.
I know my consumption is hardly ‘rock n’ roll’ but I would like some health body somewhere to tell me DEFINITIVELY:-
What is the true level of units which can be safely consumed per week [not based on a sample of 20 bearded men in Scandanavia]?
What is the exact relation between alcohol consumption and cancers?
Is white wine really good for the lungs?
Do the antioxidants in red wine really have anti-ageing properties?
Is a moderate level of red wine consumption really good for preventing i)cardiac problems, ii) stroke problems, iii) shoring up bone density?
Is it true that post-menopause, a glass of red a day is implicated in increased longevity for women (I’m assuming they’re less bored)?
You get the picture. But it is confusing to read the daily swings of the research pendulum in the tabloid press.
More seriously, should we consider a total ban on alcohol consumption (drugs and some prescription drugs included) before operating machinery or getting behind a wheel?
What are the true costs of binge drinking to our hospitals, emergency services and employers in general?
What is the cost of drinking to our children in terms of the quality of their upbringing and education?
Is any consumption of alcohol safe during pregnancy? How do we approach teaching our children about the pleasures and perils of drinking?
Sure, there are initiatives like Dry January which at least puts the issue of excessive alcohol consumption on the nation’s post-Christmas agenda, but for every article about the benefits of abstaining, there will be another warning us not to go mad and hit the bottle on 1st Feb. This rather begs the question how effective Dry January is. If you’re going to try it you’ll find some useful tips in this post.
The costs of our eternal love affair with alcohol are increasing. We need one body working closely with colleagues in other countries to provide a definitive study with CONCRETE recommendations agreed by medical experts and shared intelligently with us.
Then perhaps there can finally be a sensible approach to the price of alcohol and licensing laws and a strategy for health education which doesn’t revolve around frightening us to death.
In the meantime, I’m off to check the corkscrew is in working order and I’ll make sure not to click on any alcohol-related articles online for the rest of the day. How safe is a glass of wine? It’s time somebody, somewhere told us definitively.