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Is that glass of wine really bad for you?

Q: As much as I trust your other advice, I just can’t get behind the recommendation given in some of the e-Tips for wine. I don’t care about the supposed health “benefits”– it’s a risk for even healthy people.

It makes me wonder–are you so supportive of alcohol because it’s your drug of choice? This seems to be what’s going on when health professionals give a biased report on the benefits of alcohol with no mention of any risks.

Dr. Wright: I actually grew up with Italian relatives who made their own wine, but I haven’t even had a sip of it (or any other alcoholic beverage) since the 1980s. And just to allay any questions, no, I’m not an alcoholic or recovering alcoholic.

Despite the fact that I don’t drink, I still stand behind the recommendations you have read in the Health e-Tips, and I must respectfully disagree with your interpretation (and that of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union and other “Prohibitionists”) that moderate amounts of alcohol pose risks for healthy individuals.

There is voluminous evidence available showing that one “average size” glass of wine or beer daily has more health benefits than detriments. Of course, moderation is key, and for the best of health, I discourage more than these quantities. And I always advise my patients and readers to avoid “distilled alcohol” (i.e. “hard liquor”) altogether.

Actually, I’m against Prohibition of any sort: alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, or other drugs. This opinion might come as a surprise to some people, and I know many people vehemently disagree, but it’s my firm belief that Prohibition has done incredible and untold damage to the health of individuals and our nation’s physical, social, and political health. Not to mention that it’s just plain unconstitutional.

Even though some would (and do) choose to ruin their lives with drugs, I believe respecting the individual freedoms guaranteed to adult citizens by the Constitution of these United States would be much healthier for the vast majority of us.