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Can Drinking Booze Make You Healthy?

A new study reported today says that no amount of booze -- wine, beer, liquor -- is good for your health.

While that's interesting and mildly surprising, the findings are especially significant since earlier this summer the National Institutes of Health shut down a $100 million study that was intended to show that moderate consumption of alcohol could improve one's health.

Why was that study shut down? Because it was discovered it was tainted by appeals for funding from the alcohol industry, a violation of federal policy.

The purpose of that analysis was to answer this question: Does a daily cocktail or beer really protect against heart attacks and stroke? To find out, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) wanted scientists to compare people who drink with those who don’t. Its conclusions could have enshrined alcohol as part of a healthy diet, observed The New York Times.

No wonder the booze industry wanted a piece of the action.

By shutting down that study, the NIH preserved its integrity and the faith that the American people can have in its work. Had it not done so, and had that funding not been reported as it was by The Times, phony information would have been publicized and believed by millions who could then justify having their daily drink or two, most likely harming their health and ultimately increasing the cost of health care in the U.S.

That seems especially clear given this new study involving 195 countries and territories from 1990 to 2016, which relied on 694 sources of data and analyzed 592 studies to determine the health risks of alcohol use. While the study is among the largest of its kind, it was also observational, linking population-wide consumption to population-wide trends, The Times reported.

Regardless of the details, the conclusions are startling as they run against the popular view that a daily drink of alcohol -- especially wine -- can be beneficial. Whether it will be believed and widely observed is an open question.

However, as it comes on the heels of the earlier initiative that would have supported that idea and may have been influenced by the booze industry, those conclusions become even more important.

Thank God for the free press, which disclosed those potential industry influences, resulting in that study being scrubbed. Just another example of the importance of the media in our daily lives.

#alcohol #NationalInstitutesofHealth #TheNewYorkTimes #BobGatty

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