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To drink or not to drink?

Many claim that alcohol is a slow poison. Yet there are also some who swear by the benefits of alcohol. So the question to be asked is, “Is alcohol consumption a beneficial pastime?”


The downside of alcohol is probably known to all. If taken in excessive amounts, alcohol can cause a number of illnesses such as high blood pressure, gastrointestinal complications and liver diseases. It is thought to be a determining factor in the chances of getting mouth, pharyngeal and oesophageal cancers. Colorectal and breast cancers are also a probability of the consequences of excessive drinking. Not to forget, getting drunk can also have harmful social and psychological consequences.

The lighter side of alcohol consumption is that, if drunken in moderate amounts, it reduces the chances of coronary heart disease. An interesting observation is the eating habits and health of the French. The French diet is considered to be very high in fat, yet the death rate from coronary heart disease remains relatively low. It is thought that this is because of the French’s consumption of red wine. Alcohol is also a high source of energy, providing seven calories per gram of alcohol. Some alcoholic drinks contain sugars and traces of vitamins and minerals, so it isn’t totally void of nutrition.

The bottom line is alcohol, if consumed in moderation and in a balanced way can have positive effects. The recommended consumption of alcohol is two to three units of alcohol for women and three to four units for men. This is best balanced by drinking every alternate day of the week. The key is to drink in a controlled and balanced manner.

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