Last week we looked at a summary of the impact of alcohol on society, families and individual health. The data is sobering, indeed. Why then do we hear so much about the health benefits of moderate alcohol use?
In the scientific literature there is overwhelming evidence from prospective, observational studies that individuals who drink 1-2 drinks per day have a lower rate of cardiovascular mortality than heavy drinkers and non-drinkers. More than 100 prospective studies have shown a J-shaped curve between alcohol and coronary heart disease (CHD). The lowest rates of CHD are found among those who consume two drinks of alcohol per day. Moderate alcohol consumption has also been associated with lowered risk of diabetes, dementia, and osteoporosis.
Today, most scientists attribute a causal role to moderate drinking, and presume it lowers the risk of disease. How could this be? Moderate use of alcohol has been shown to protect againt bleeding and clot formation, it is associated with lower levels of inflamatory markers, and it seems to raise the good (HDL) cholesterol. Could these mechanisms be responsible for such profound benefits?
Bible believing Christians who believe God's Word teaches total abstinence from alcohol struggle to understand how their loving God could withhold from His children a substance purportedly so beneficial. How can we make sense from this apparent conflict? Can God's Word and science be in perfect harmony?
In the future we will examine some alternative explanations for the current views on the benefit of moderate drinking. Stay tuned!