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Gingersnap
08-30-2010, 03:10 PM
Heavy Drinkers Outlive Nondrinkers, Study Finds

JOHN CLOUD John Cloud Mon Aug 30, 6:50 am ET

One of the most contentious issues in the vast literature about alcohol consumption has been the consistent finding that those who don't drink actually tend to die sooner than those who do. The standard Alcoholics Anonymous explanation for this finding is that many of those who show up as abstainers in such research are actually former hard-core drunks who had already incurred health problems associated with drinking.

But a new paper in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research suggests that - for reasons that aren't entirely clear - abstaining from alcohol does actually tend to increase one's risk of dying even when you exclude former drinkers. The most shocking part? Abstainers' mortality rates are higher than those of heavy drinkers. (See pictures of booze under a microscope.)

Moderate drinking, which is defined as one to three drinks per day, is associated with the lowest mortality rates in alcohol studies. Moderate alcohol use (especially when the beverage of choice is red wine) is thought to improve heart health, circulation and sociability, which can be important because people who are isolated don't have as many family members and friends who can notice and help treat health problems.

But why would abstaining from alcohol lead to a shorter life? It's true that those who abstain from alcohol tend to be from lower socioeconomic classes, since drinking can be expensive. And people of lower socioeconomic status have more life stressors - job and child-care worries that might not only keep them from the bottle but also cause stress-related illnesses over long periods. (They also don't get the stress-reducing benefits of a drink or two after work.)

But even after controlling for nearly all imaginable variables - socioeconomic status, level of physical activity, number of close friends, quality of social support and so on - the researchers (a six-member team led by psychologist Charles Holahan of the University of Texas at Austin) found that over a 20-year period, mortality rates were highest for those who had never been drinkers, second-highest for heavy drinkers and lowest for moderate drinkers.

Well, gimme a shot of rye and a beer back. :cool:

Yahoo (http://news.yahoo.com/s/time/08599201433200)

Shannon
08-30-2010, 03:25 PM
Ha!:D

JB
08-30-2010, 03:41 PM
Beer is proof God loves us or something like that.

Since the martini is the most perfect drink ever invented, I'll bet gin drinkers live the longest.

lacarnut
08-30-2010, 03:47 PM
I would have to call this BS. My dad made 99, my mom 93, three Aunts lived over 90 years and all were teetotalers.

ralph wiggum
08-30-2010, 03:48 PM
I would have to call this BS. My dad made 99, my mom 93, three Aunts lived over 90 years and all were teetotalers.

The exception that proves the rule. :cool: :D

marv
08-30-2010, 04:29 PM
Humph!

Grandpa smoked and drank all his life, and died in '36 at 90 - of OLD AGE!

Dad smoked and drank all his life, and died in '86 at 91 - of OLD AGE!

Rebel Yell
08-30-2010, 04:34 PM
Ha!:D

That makes you a Highlander.

BadCat
08-30-2010, 05:36 PM
Damn.

That means my mother in law will live forever.

malloc
08-30-2010, 06:30 PM
I'm going to more than quadruple my bourbon budget. (I'm a sucker for good bourbon), and then I'll live forever!

Well, actually, I don't know. On the one hand, I'll live more hours but accomplish less in those hours I live, so I'm not sure if living longer, but being a heavy drinker would be more beneficial in the long run.

Gingersnap
08-30-2010, 08:49 PM
I have a lot of Mormon relatives. Being a teetotaler just makes time seem longer. Particularly Family Night.

warpig
08-30-2010, 08:50 PM
My ex-wife didn't make it to 55, heavy drinker.

Rockntractor
08-30-2010, 09:34 PM
I have a lot of Mormon relatives. Being a teetotaler just makes time seem longer. Particularly Family Night.

Do they sit around and watch each others beards grow?:confused:

warpig
08-30-2010, 09:41 PM
Do they sit around and watch each others beards grow?:confused:

Your thinking Amish............:D

Gingersnap
08-30-2010, 09:46 PM
Do they sit around and watch each others beards grow?:confused:

No. They have too much sex for anything like that. They're busy. :D

noonwitch
08-31-2010, 12:50 PM
No. They have too much sex for anything like that. They're busy. :D

Planets to populate and all that.

malloc
08-31-2010, 03:53 PM
Ok, so I was kind of bothered by this article, and it took me a while to find out why I was bothered. Then I finally got my finger on it.



The sample of those who were studied included individuals between ages 55 and 65 who had had any kind of outpatient care in the previous three years

Between the ages of 55 and 65..... I want to know if it was harder to find "heavy drinkers" between the ages of 55 and 65. Did they have to look harder for them than the non-drinkers? I think this is a serious flaw in the study. I mean what if most "hard drinkers" die off at 45-54, and the only "hard drinkers" left after that age are the ones who are genetically pre-disposed to longevity? in this study they might be comparing this naturally long living survivor group to non-drinkers who aren't genetically pre-disposed to longevity since the survivor group is all that is left of the heavy drinkers..

Not very good science.

noonwitch
08-31-2010, 04:21 PM
My dad was a heavy drinker until he was in his 60s. He's been sober for about 15 years at this point. He drank daily, large quantities of whiskey, and lesser quantities of Budweiser. He has health issues now, at his age, but most of them are due to his having polio as a child. His mother was a total abstainer from all immorality (alcohol, tobacco and dancing) and lived to be 85 before dying of a series of strokes-she probably would have lived longer had my dad and his brother taken better care of her.


My 97 year old grandfather was never a drunk, nor did he abstain. He likes a Miller beer now and then- a beer, not 5. He'll tell you the secret to living long is eating brown or black bread daily, getting exercise, not smoking and being happy. Also, luck and Blue Cross. If they hadn't given him an x-ray when he pulled a back muscle at 79, they wouldn't have found that early stage tumor on his kidney and wouldn't have been able to remove his kidney before it metasized.

SaintLouieWoman
08-31-2010, 07:19 PM
Ok, so I was kind of bothered by this article, and it took me a while to find out why I was bothered. Then I finally got my finger on it.



Between the ages of 55 and 65..... I want to know if it was harder to find "heavy drinkers" between the ages of 55 and 65. Did they have to look harder for them than the non-drinkers? I think this is a serious flaw in the study. I mean what if most "hard drinkers" die off at 45-54, and the only "hard drinkers" left after that age are the ones who are genetically pre-disposed to longevity? in this study they might be comparing this naturally long living survivor group to non-drinkers who aren't genetically pre-disposed to longevity since the survivor group is all that is left of the heavy drinkers..

Not very good science.

Glad you read it carefully. Something just didn't sound right with this study.

Actually, I think you probably could find more heavy drinkers in the senior set. They seem to drink more hard liquor and more of it, at least down here in Florida.

What probably skews the study is that the non-drinkers could be abstaining from alcohol to avoid interactions with meds.

Gingersnap
08-31-2010, 07:41 PM
It's difficult to take anything away from this study. "Heavy drinking" is 3 or more drinks a day for men or 1 or more drinks a day for women "on average".

If a man stuck to 3 drinks a day (or a woman to 1 drink a day) there is no big physical fallout that I'm aware of for healthy people. Your body will generally process a drink in an hour or so. For much of our nation's history everybody drank much more than that and adults who avoided trauma, the complications of childbirth, and infectious disease lived surprising long lives for the time.

I would guess that the toll of really heavy drinking comes young for people involved in drunk accidents, fights, and general mayhem. There's another big uptick in liver disease around 45-60 probably. But that's really heavy drinking - not CDC-defined "heavy drinking".

I doubt that most women who have a glass of wine with dinner every single day are any risk for anything.

Reading some of the studies (especially out of the U.K.) leads me to believe that at least some of the toll of heavy drinking is actually a fatness fallout. You can't knock back that much liquor without gaining substantial weight and that alone has implications for heart disease and hormone-dependent cancers.

Bubba Dawg
08-31-2010, 08:09 PM
How one drinks may matter.

Most days, I have a drink when I get home (a double) and I nurse that one until 8 or so and then have another drink (also a double) about ten PM and when I finish it I go to bed. I drink slowly.

I also drink it on the rocks. No sweet mixers.

Four drinks (two doubles) over 4 or 5 hours. That's a heavy drinker in the definition that was used.

On the other days, I drink less than that.

Gingersnap
08-31-2010, 08:55 PM
Most of these "health" studies are for "entertainment purposes only".

In this country, Mormons are widely sought after as control subjects since most of them don't drink, smoke, or enjoy coffee/tea (and this usually extends to soda drinks). On the other side of the world, some Asian subcultures are also touted as baseline groups since they eat a lot of fish and veggies and get a lot of exercise. In the middle, Italy is now seen as a similar baseline because of the so-called Mediterranean diet. All these people live somewhat longer than others in their own societies.

Trouble is, they don't have that much in common in terms of diet and vice. The Asians eat fish but smoke like crazy. So do a lot of old Italians who also drink every day and eat a lot of olive oil.

Neither Mormons nor Asians consume much olive oil and Mormons aren't noted fish-eaters. Mormons are vegetable eaters but their taste runs to corn and potatoes, not spouts and seaweed. The Asians drink tea constantly and the old Italians drink coffee.

So I'd ask what all these groups really have in common. Aside from the Mormons, the studied groups have been skewed older (unsurprising in longevity studies). They all came from primarily rural or semi-rural environments as children. They all had a top-down culture/religious inheritance that frowned on promiscuity, emphasized close family life, promoted work, and demanded social conformity.

And they all fasted. Mormons do a water-only fast once a month and frequently more often for personal reasons. Both the Asians and the Italians in the longevity studies suffered food privation as children and teens and many also fasted for religious reasons as adults.

So is it the food, smoking, and drinking or the family life, religion/cultural obligations, and fasting? Who knows?