Moderate Drinking is Good for Health – A Hoax
Dr Rajinder Singh*
During the last two decades, some medical researchers in
the West have claimed that moderate drinking is beneficial
for health. According to them, incidence of heart attacks
is lower in those who consume one or two small drinks daily,
as compared to those who are teetotallers. Some other reports
claim similar benefits against high blood pressure, strokes,
cancers of certain organs and a number of other diseases.
These findings are being used by alcohol-lovers as a pretext
to justify their drinking behaviour. Liquor companies have
been publicizing these in a big way as a strategy to promote
Lately, some eminent scientists, who are authorities in
their respective fields of Preventive Medicine, Cardiology
and Psychiatry, have struck a note of caution against this
over-optimism. They have stated emphatically that these
claims are not based on rigorous scientific research and
accurate data. According to them, alcohol confers no health
benefit, and that the ‘two drinks a day’ theory
is a hoax. The learned views of some of them are given below:
“In recent years, some medical reports have claimed
that one or two glasses of red wine every day may reduce
the risk of a heart attack for an individual. Some other
reports have also claimed similar benefits for other types
of drinks. It is amazing how quickly these reports are being
used as an argument to justify drinking by those who do
Dr. Hans Embald, Director of WHO’s Programme on Substance
Abuse, has emphatically stated that such claims of health
benefits of alcohol are not based on rigorous scientific
research, and are to a large extent inspired by commercial
According to Dr. Hans Embald there is no minimum threshold
below which alcohol can be consumed without any risk ...
(Dr. N.N. Wig, Former Professor of Psychiatry at PGI, Chandigarh,
‘Sensible Drinking: Plain Facts’, The Tribune,
Chandigarh, November 23, 1994).
“A few tipples everyday will guard against heart attacks,
high blood pressure, strokes, various cancers and other
ills, say enthusiasts-pointing to several studies that have
supported the health benefits of booze. It’s a perfect
excuse to uncork another bottle of burgundy, they say. But
now an international team of scientific kill joys (Scientists
at Duke University, North Carolina, and the Institute of
Preventive Medicine, Copenhagen) have discovered that this
reassuring notion may be based on incorrect data.
There is nothing that directly confers any health benefit
in a glass or two of wine.” (Robin Mackie, ‘Now
they say wine isn’t good for you’, The Guardian,
reproduced in The Tribune, Chandigarh, July 29, 2002.)
“For heart patients and potential heart patients it
is time for “no cheers.” Contrary to the popular
perception that “two small drinks a day” are
fine for your heart, eminent cardiologist and PGI Director
(Head of the Cardiology Department), Professor K.K. Talwar,
today said there was no conclusive evidence of “beneficial”
effects of alcohol on the human heart.
The two-drinks theory is a hoax, and may be part of the
liquor companies’ strategy to push up their sales,
Professor Talwar said in a talk on healthy heart during
the course of a medical camp organized by the Chandigarh
Press Club in association with Gianwati - O.P. Jain Memorial
Trust, Charkhi Dadri, here today. Heart patients should
at best avoid liquor.”
For a Healthy Heart:
I. Have a balanced diet; avoid fast food.
2. Do regular exercise; walking is good.
3. No self-medication or overuse of drugs.
4. Avoid alcohol and smoking.
(“2-drinks-a-day theory a hoax: PGI Chief”,
Tribune News Service, The Tribune, Chandigarh, December
It is common knowledge that, even though moderate drinkers
may not exhibit any overt alcohol-induced ailment, but with
passage of time, they tend to become pot-bellied and overweight.
This is because alcohol is rich in calories. But these are
‘empty calories’, as alcohol is completely devoid
of protective nutrients like proteins and vitamins, unlike
many of the natural food sources of energy which, in addition,
contain these nutrients in fair amounts.
Another fact, which must not be lost sight of, is that at
least one out of every five social drinkers, even if he
starts with one or two drinks a day, progressively loses
control over his drinking behaviour. His daily intake goes
on increasing, and he ends up miserably as a compulsive
Alcoholic beverages are best avoided. We all must take cue
from the following verse of Bhagat Ravidas Ji, enshrined
in Guru Granth Sahib:
sll ikRq bwrUnI ry
sMq jn krq nhI pwnM ]
Guru Granth Sahib, p 1293
(Even if wine is prepared with Ganga-jal, the enlightened
ones would not partake of it.)