Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Word of Wisdom Vindicated . . . Again

Part of the Word of Wisdom dealing with alcohol consumption was supposed to have been put into question by studies. Every few months, it seemed, a new study would come out stating that moderate drinking of wine or dark beer helped with this or that health concern. Not so fast, says another study, because there can be more harm than good:

Experts with the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association say that though these studies do show some benefits to moderate drinking, the health risks from alcohol consumption far outweigh the potential rewards.

The reason for the warning is that it may prevent some kinds of cancers and heart problems, but it can cause other cancers:

Drinking any alcohol at all is known to increase your risk for contracting a number of types of cancer, said Susan Gapstur, vice president of epidemiology for the American Cancer Society. These include cancers of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, liver, colon/rectum and breast.

It also causes, as has been known, liver damage. However, all the benefits that do exist can be had by fresh fruits and vegetables:

For example, people can get resveratrol -- the antioxidant found in red wine that's believed to provide most of the drink's health benefits -- from drinking grape juice just as well as from drinking wine, Mieres said.

Those who have produced the study seem to be trying to have it both ways, extolling drinking in moderation even when they claim that is harmful. As for the moderation, having one drink or two drinks a day is the recommended. Known patterns of drinking don't follow that very well. Other studies have shown that binge drinking, especially for the young, or having more than the above recommended glasses a day is far more likely.

Caution is still recommended with this study. Reports on doctors' and scientists' findings have a habit of discovering competing studies. For the moment, the health prescription from the Lord seems safe enough to continue following.


CJ said...

My sense is that these studies are being conducted, not to discover an unbiased, empirical truth but to prove an agenda. In other words, there is a "right" answer that researchers are trying to prove: drinking alcohol is OK. "See, there are health benefits, it's not a purely hedonistic enterprise!"

The fly in the ointment is, whatever the benefits of drinking may or may not be, nobody's sitting down to drink wine, or beer, or whatever, for their health. They're drinking to have "fun", or "relax", or whatever. Until it's alcoholism, and even then, we as a society have trouble recognizing alcohol use as a form of chemical dependence--but it is. And the spiritual cost of becoming addicted to any substance, of relying on a glass of wine, instead of your own better judgment, to make you feel better, vastly outweighs any health "benefit" drinking might bestow.

It's like saying, "well, I cut off my foot, so now I don't get foot cramps anymore!"

StacyRoderick said...

I know this is about coffee rather than alcohol, but I want to address that issue as well since we have run into friends that cannot visit the temple (as well as suffer the ill health benefits)because of an inability to give up coffee.

We have found a way for LDS members with coffee addictions to enjoy the taste and aroma of coffee while abiding by the WOW. As former coffee drinkers ourselves we worked hard to find an alternative to coffee while adhering strictly to the WOW. What we ended up with is an amazing brewed-coffee substitute. Please let anyone who is being kept from the temple due to coffee know about Cafe Cebada.

Skepticalthayne said...

I have put several posts on my blog about the "Word of Wisdom" and its history. You might find some of the ideas interesting.