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Junk science and booze tax - a study in spin

Where's the beer?

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A drinking guideline you will probably never hear

Part A of the Sheffield study of the "evidence base" contains a curious interlude. Remember that this is a report commissioned by and written for our Health Department bureaucrats. What, you may wonder, are the risks and benefits?

Light and moderate levels of alcohol consumption are actually good for you - but you may be surprised (because it's so rarely reported) quite how good.

In one meta study cited: "Four out of five cohort studies showed statistically significant reduction of all causes of mortality between 15 per cent and 25 per cent for moderate drinking." Moderate is defined as men who drink between 29g and 43g daily, and women between 14g and 29g daily.

Respectively, that's about three pints of beer for men, and a couple of glasses of wine for women. Per day.

Drinking moderately is good for the heart, and also guards against strokes. According to the studies, the relative benefits of moderate alcohol use are even larger than the damage caused by hammering it with heavy (> 100g a day) drinking.

Strangely, this "health" message is completely absent at the Department of Health, or as a policy recommendation. As is the logical deduction: that more of the population who currently abstain should be being encouraged to drink in moderation.

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