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Is the Party Over? The Latest Research on the Pros and Cons of Drinking Alcohol

By Kristin Ohlson, November/December 2009

Scientists spill the truth about drinking and your health.


READER'S COMMENT:
"I look forward to relaxing in the evening with a glass of red wine. If it's Friday....more likely two! We need to always consider our family health history, and remember to drink responsibly. Kudos to Kristen Ohlson for writing such an...

To drink or not to drink?

Some experts recommend keeping our health profile and history in mind as we decide how much to drink. Young women with a family history of breast cancer might decide to keep their consumption very low or abstain completely. Middle-aged men with a family history of heart disease or dementia, on the other hand, might continue their evening cocktail or glass of wine with dinner with a clear conscience.

But other experts tell moderate drinkers not to let the barrage of studies overwhelm their joie de vivre. “My message to people who enjoy drinking moderately is to stop obsessing about whether it helps your health or not,” says Tim Naimi. “You don’t need an excuse to drink a moderate amount of alcohol.”

I’ve decided to make a cocktail of these bits of advice. My family history is rife with heart disease, dementia and diabetes, but not much cancer. So I’ll keep drinking, but remind myself that “moderate” is somewhat short of the number of drinks that inspire me to call my brother and sing Daffy Duck’s Rhapsody. And when I pour myself a glass of red wine, I’ll slough away the conflicting messages about alcohol as medicine with a Gallic shrug, inhale deeply, and enjoy!



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