Alcohol: The Key to Good Health?

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Today I want to comment on a news piece from the New York Post about Dr. Malcolm Lloyd, a physician who seems to be recommending daily alcohol consumption as a preventative for a variety of ailments from the common cold to Alzheimer's and certain cancers. He also seems to be indicating that people who drink regularly in moderation seem to live longer than those who don't. Give me a break!

I know that there have been numerous publications exploring the correlation between alcohol consumption and heart health. For example, we all know that a chemical compound found in wine called resvesterol, is a potent antioxidant that has been shown to complement the stability of a healthy heart.

However, there have been many other studies that have clearly demonstrated increased cancer rates a• especially breast cancer a• in women who consume moderate amounts of alcohol.

Now trust me, I am not, by a long shot, a person who doesn't enjoy a good drink once in a while. And I do acknowledge that there are cultures in various parts of the world where alcohol is an integral part of the local cuisine. However, these are also the cultures where healthy servings of vital nutrients, vegetables and proteins play a key role in their daily eating habits. They tend to be more physically active, and place a lot of importance on maintaining healthy sleep patterns.

But here in the U.S., we are a "fast-food nation." For the last 3-5 years, we've been hearing about how the obesity rate has reached epidemic proportions - affecting both adults and our children.

Obesity significantly raises the risk for many diseases and conditions like: o Coronary heart disease

o Type 2 diabetes

o Cancers (endometrial, breast, and colon)

o Hypertension (high blood pressure)

o Dyslipidemia (high total cholesterol or high levels of triglycerides)

o Stroke

o Liver and Gallbladder disease

o Sleep apnea and respiratory problems

o Osteoarthritis (a degeneration of cartilage and its underlying bone within a joint)

o Gynecological problems

Americans also deal with high rates of depression - another disease that when coupled with the effects of alcohol can have disastrous results.

We also have to remember that alcohol has addictive properties that for some folks can completely ruin the chances of future health and longevity.

I know that everyone is looking for an excuse to justify their daily cocktail, but I find it irresponsible for one physician to give us a free pass to drink myself to "an everlasting life."