A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you

and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims.  Now there’s a headline that will warm the heart of all heavy drinkers and make us that have taken the abstention route a moment of questioning.

These articles appeared in the Daily Mail and The Independent back in April 2014 but have been doing the rounds again in the last few days.  At the time a Guardian piece questioned the validity of the claims.

From The Independent:

Former World Health Organisation alcohol expert Dr Kari Poikolainen has analysed decades of research into the effects of alcohol on the human body, The Daily Mail reports.

His conclusion – drinking is only harmful when you consume more than 13 units a day – that’s four to five pints of beer or more than a bottle of wine – which typically contains around 10 units.

He also believes that drinking more than the current recommended daily intake may in fact be healthier than being a teetotaler.

The weight of the evidence shows moderate drinking is better than abstaining and heavy drinking is worse than abstaining – however the moderate amounts can be higher than the guidelines say,” Dr Poikolainen reportedly told The Mail.

Unfortunately none of the news coverage shared any of the ‘decades of research evidence’ cited so it is difficult to validate or dispute.

So according to Dr Poikolainen drinking between 3  and up to 13 units is not harmful.  He doesn’t say whether this applies equally to men or women or whether this is acceptable on a daily basis.

I could list all the documentaries and radio programmes I have shared on this blog where UK medical experts dealing with liver disease have cited the levels of drinking which they consider harmful.  It is between 60 and 150 units and over, and my own experience working on an alcoholic liver disease ward backs up their numbers.  Dr Poikolainen’s assertions run counter to all of that by saying that 91 units a week is safe.

I’m sorry Dr but until I see the ‘decades of research evidence’ that support these claims then that is all these are – claims.  Putting this ‘supposed’ evidence out in the media with no way for us to verify the research’s credibility, validity and the sources of research funding is both irresponsible and dangerous.  If I was still drinking I would have grabbed this news and held on to it tight as a way of justifying my own dysfunctional drinking.  How many other people out there reading that news story have done the same?

10 days to go

17 thoughts on “A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you

    1. Morning Prim. It was a discussion in the FB BFB that bought it to my attention and as part of my researching this post I found his website 🙂 Well at least there is no disputing his position! 😉 He’s entitled to his opinion, but I object to the media picking it up and running with it with no supportive data or evidence. Those kind of headlines sell papers though right? Week-end paper edition too I bet! xx

  1. So is paying Dr Kari Poikolainen? And…. how much does he drink?

    Same stuff happened in the research to the effects of sugar in the fifties: very, very healthy! Only if we put dogs on a diet of water and sugar, the die. If we put a reference group on a diet of water, the live… But sugar is VERY good for you.

    I guess it only proves that the alcohol producers are getting desperate.

    1. Good questions feeling 🙂 Yes the triumvirate of toxic products that has been sold to us as not harmful – tobacco, alcohol and sugar 🙁 Don’t know about desperate, but definitely more blatant!!

  2. He will sell some books, because it is an idea that people want to buy into. It’s like climate change denial. People will believe anything – even if it flies in the face of undisputed crystal clear scientific evidence – if they want to believe it. Grrrr.

    1. Sadly true MTM and a year ago that would have been me too. Denial and cognitive dissonance are powerful psychological defense mechanisms ….

  3. That’s really sad and disappointing to hear/read. It’s articles like that that I would clutch onto and say ‘it’s ok, even though I feel like total crap and I want to die….this is GOOD for me’…..yeah, right. Thanks for the post!

    1. It is isn’t it Mallards? We are learning the hard way that this is not true!

  4. That is just so annoying! I hate articles which tell you how wonderful alcohol is, because it -well – isn’t!

    1. Hi Biggles 🙂 *waves* Thanks for reading and commenting on my blog. Bloody annoying indeed!

  5. Irresponsible, dangerous…IGNORANT! I must not have been doing something right in my drinking days because I certainly didn’t feel or look “healthy”…maybe because I drank bourbon instead of wine?!

    1. I agree Lori! Misleading at best, downright irresponsible and dangerous at worst ….

  6. Yes I read similar articles, and it bothered me as a recent non drinker. I too would like to know who funded the studies.

    1. Hey CH! Thanks for reading and commenting on my blog 🙂 I should probably buy his book and do some further investigation!

  7. My question would be, if a bottle a day is not bad for you, why is it making me sick in multiple ways?

    1. Hi omh Thank you for reading and commenting on my blog. It was making me sick in multiple ways too hence why I disagree with his argument. You can always stop 🙂

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