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Drinking Alcohol May Extend Your Life 548

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the chug-chug-chug dept.
Adolytsi writes "MSNBC has an interesting article on an Italian study on alcoholism. While the obvious notion of overconsumption of alcohol being detrimental to one's health is supported, apparently drinking it in moderation can actually extend your lifespan. A study on over 1 million drinkers and 94,000 deaths yielded the results: "According to the data, drinking a moderate amount of alcohol — up to four drinks per day in men and two drinks per day in women — reduces the risk of death from any cause by roughly 18 percent, the team reports in the Archives of Internal Medicine. However, "things radically change" when consumption goes beyond these levels, study leader Dr. Augusto Di Castelnuovo, from Catholic University of Campobasso, said in a statement. Men who have more than four drinks per day and women who have more than two drinks per day not only lose the protection that alcohol affords, but they increase their risk of death, the data indicates.""
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Drinking Alcohol May Extend Your Life

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  • military & drinking (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @05:18PM (#17317620)
    Actually, if you join the military and are stationed in any Asian country, then you can drink. In the Philippines, bartenders dot no check the age of American soldiers.
  • by pclminion (145572) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @05:20PM (#17317680)

    Shotgunning four drinks one after the other (binging, basically) is one thing. Drinking four drinks over the course of a six hour evening is something else. I'm kind of surprised at the number as well. Wikipedia's page on cirrhosis states that "There is great variability in the amount of alcohol needed to cause cirrhosis (as little as 3-4 drinks a day in some men and 2-3 in some women)." This seems to put 3-4 drinks as a LOWER bound on the danger zone. There may be people (quite a few people in fact) who can tolerate more than that.

  • by 80's Greg (457939) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @05:22PM (#17317712) Homepage
    Check out the worldwide recommendations for drinking. Currenty (as far as this chart is concerned), the # of drinks men should consume is "no more than two drinks per day", and "no more than one drink per day" for women.

    http://www.drinkingandyou.com/site/uk/biggy.htm [drinkingandyou.com]
  • Re:Define "drink" (Score:5, Informative)

    by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @05:38PM (#17317998)

    They defined a drink as 10 grams of ethanol, which would make the appropriate amount for americans something like 1 tumbler of scotch, I believe (assuming 120 proof). If someone cares to do a more scientific conversion, rather than the half-assed one I just put together, we're looking for what content of scotch contains 30 grams of ethanol.

  • Re:Legal age (Score:3, Informative)

    by winnabago (949419) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @05:44PM (#17318108) Homepage
    Italy? What drinking age?
  • by Aqua_boy17 (962670) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @05:46PM (#17318128)
    It's "Colombia".

    If you're going to insult an entire country and its citizens, most of whom have never touched cocaine, at least have the decency to spell the name correctly.
  • Re:Legal age (Score:3, Informative)

    by homebrewmike (709361) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @05:54PM (#17318282)
    > Yeah, you yanks are crazy.
    Not all of us - only the wankers in charge (and those wankers supporting those in charge - who, come think of it, are the biggest wankers of all.)
  • Re:Legal age (Score:5, Informative)

    by Lord Kano (13027) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @05:56PM (#17318320) Homepage Journal
    Federal highway funds are linked to the drinking age. If a state sets their drinking age below 21, they lose millions upon millions of dollars in federal highway funds.

    States basically have the choice of discriminating against 18-20 year old adults and going bankrupt.

    LK
  • Re:Define "drink" (Score:5, Informative)

    by Waffle Iron (339739) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @06:12PM (#17318560)
    I didn't see them mention the amount of ethanol per drink in the article, but 10g does match the Italian definition of a standard drink [wikipedia.org], which is also about the amount in a 1-oz shot of 80-proof liquor. Most people in the USA, however, probably think of a single drink as more like the US standard, which is 14g. This corresponds to a 12-oz non-light beer or 5 oz of most wines. So Americans should probably interpret the limit as *3* drinks per day for men.
  • Re:Define "drink" (Score:5, Informative)

    by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @06:19PM (#17318688)

    So Americans should probably interpret the limit as *3* drinks per day for men.

    Actually, from the somewhat better article on this study that I read, they found a difference between European and American drinking that placed 3, 10g drinks as the high end cutoff for Americans and 6 as the cutoff for Europeans. They theorized this was due to the differences in the way Americans and Europeans drink, specifically if you were drinking small amounts with meals all day, or drinking all of it at once without food.

    So you should probably change that to "2" drinks per day, for men, unless you're drinking them more dispersed over the course of the day and with food.

  • Re:Legal age (Score:5, Informative)

    by Baki (72515) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @06:32PM (#17318902)
    Most countries do not have a "drinking age". In most of europe it is forbidden to sell alcohol to minors below 16 (18 for stronger drinks above 30% alcohol) but any parent may allow his children to drink (with moderation). I used to drink some wine at dinner from age 10. I've been drunk 2 times in my life (I'm about 40 now).

    I think the US is the only country in the world with such a strict view on drinking, and it does not help. There is no less drinking amongst the youth in the US as in europe, and I just cannot understand where this phobia comes from. Maybe some after effect of the prohibition in the 1930s?
  • Re:Define "drink" (Score:5, Informative)

    by AeroIllini (726211) <aeroillini.gmail@com> on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @06:36PM (#17318972)
    If someone cares to do a more scientific conversion, rather than the half-assed one I just put together, we're looking for what content of scotch contains 30 grams of ethanol.
    Ok.

    A standard "drink", as defined in the US, is 0.6 oz of ethenol [wikipedia.org]. We will assume 43% alcohol by volume (the content of my favorite Scotch, Glenmorangie 18 year).

    At 43% ABV, a "standard drink" of Glenmorangie would be 0.6/0.43 = 1.40 oz, or slightly less than a shot (1.5 oz). 0.6 oz of ethanol weighs about 14g, assuming a specific gravity of 0.789 for ethanol [wikipedia.org]. Calculations below:

    (0.6 oz) * (29.57 ml/oz) * (0.789 g/cm^3) * (1 ml/cm^3) = 14.0 grams

    So with a drink allowance of 4 drinks at 10g of ethanol each would allow you to have *almost* three Scotches, by American drink size standards. In the UK, where a standard drink is only 10 ml of ethanol, you could have five drinks. Whether this amount is more or less than what you actually pour for yourself is left as an exercise for the reader.
  • Re:Legal age (Score:3, Informative)

    by DragonWriter (970822) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @06:55PM (#17319234)
    I think the US is the only country in the world with such a strict view on drinking, and it does not help.


    Sadly, no, the US is not the only country with "such a strict view on drinking", several countries have much stricter views (e.g., Saudi Arabia.)
  • Re:Define "drink" (Score:2, Informative)

    by epee1221 (873140) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @07:09PM (#17319378)
    I know of no reason why human cells cannot make all the alcohol they really need.
    Well, here's your reason then. Human cells make lactic acid instead.
  • by ptbarnett (159784) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @07:24PM (#17319524)
    ACLU is a wider-focus group that decides to not deal with the 2nd ammendment because the narrow-focus NRA is taking care of it.

    The ACLU takes an active position against the individual-rights interpretation of the Second Amendment.

    http://www.aclu.org/police/gen/14523res20020304.ht ml [aclu.org]

    They claim to be neutral, but their officially stated position is not:

    We believe that the constitutional right to bear arms is primarily a collective one, intended mainly to protect the right of the states to maintain militias to assure their own freedom and security against the central government.

  • by poopdeville (841677) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @10:14PM (#17320976)
    You first, I'm having a beer.
  • Re:Define "drink" (Score:2, Informative)

    by billy reuben (667186) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @10:29PM (#17321096)
    50g of 120 proof alcohol contains 30g of ethanol.
  • Re:Define "drink" (Score:3, Informative)

    by Waffle Iron (339739) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @10:56PM (#17321284)
    "In the definition current in the United States, the proof number is twice the percentage of the alcohol content measured by volume at a temperature of 60 F (15.5 C)." What's the point?

    Well, as the article pointed out, proof was originally defined by soaking gunpowder with the liquor. 100 proof was the weakest solution that still allowed the gunpowder to ignite. Nobody can deny that that's just a cool way to define a measurement.

    The US standard is a more scientific simplification of that somewhat imprecise test, but still retains the spirit. Besides, "proof" is easier to say than "Percent Alcohol by Volume". And it's superior to a percentage value according to the Spinal Tap marketing theory: "These go to 200."

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