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RESEARCH MAY TO REVEAL TRUTH ABOUT BENEFITS OF ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION
We’ve all clung to the anecdotal, possibly sketchy, advice that a little drink or two a day is good for our health. But in a few years, we’ll find out if Science is really on the side of healthy imbibing to reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
The National Institutes of Heath is poised to spend around $100 million on researching the benefits or dangers of daily alcohol consumption. The NIH plans to recruit 8,000 volunteers, over the age of 50, from around the world. Half will be required to consume only one alcoholic drink a day. The other half must abstain for the duration of the six-year study. Potential subjects will not know beforehand to which group they will be assigned. Researchers will then follow to see which group records less heart attacks, strokes and death.
Finding thousands of research subjects excited about this sort of commitment is daunting enough. Now The New York Times, among others, is questioning the study’s funding base. Some of the largest alcoholic beverage companies in the world including Anheuser-Busch InBev, Heineken, Pernod Ricard and Carlsberg are in for almost $70 million. Even some of the researchers involved in the trial have deep relationships with the beverage industry.
Dr. George F. Koob of the NIH, and former member of the medical advisory council of the Alcoholic Beverage Medical Research Foundation (an alcohol industry group), says the beverage industry has no influence whatsoever on the study. These giant corporations are merely curious to discover what such research should uncover and are prepared to live with the results.
But what about the alcohol consuming public if the findings about daily drinking are less than wholesome, and maybe even point to dangerous? Like recent alarming news about bacon, sugar and coconut oil, we should chew awhile on it before we shutter the bar and live—indeed try to survive—without. We’re Americans after all, and if we’ve learned anything from the long-subsisting French, besides how to wear skinny jeans and assemble a decent cheese plate, it’s this: Nothing equals the joy of the drinker, except the joy of the wine in being drunk.
QUEEN ELIZABETH II STARTS DRINKING BEFORE LUNCH
Here’s How That Works
The growing British Royal Family is adorable and now that we have that awful treason business out of the way, following everything they do has become a national pastime for us Americans.
Some of the latest news is ABBA’s “Dancing Queen” is the Queen’s favorite song, her favorite cereal is Special K and she enjoys four alcoholic drinks every day.
Queen Elizabeth’s day starts with a royal awakening by bagpipe, followed by a pot of tea and a few biscuits. After her breakfast cereal, served from Tupperware and with fruit, she will request a gin and Dubonnet cocktail with lemon and lots of ice.
Lunch of grilled fish, or other meat, and vegetables is accompanied by a glass of wine and a piece of chocolate—another daily must-have.
The afternoon Royal Cocktail Hour is a dry martini. She may also grab another bit of chocolate.
The newly revealed Queen’s penchant for après-breakfast gin cocktails and daily martinis can only serve to boost this spirit’s image, which seems to swing on a yearly basis from wildly unfashionable to supremely chic.
Perhaps the Queen will do for afternoon cocktails what she did with corgis and make everyone want one.
After a nice, light dinner stricken of any starches and garlic, she will cap the evening with a glass of fine Champagne. Brands granted the Royal Warrant include Bollinger, Krug, Lanson and Pol Roger. Companies with the Royal Warrant have provided goods and services to the Queen for at least five years. They are allowed to use her coat of arms on packaging and promotional materials. Quite an honor.
According to the British government, all this alcohol consumption is excessive and labels the Queen as a binge-drinker. But at 91, she manages very well.
WHAT WE REALLY DRINK
Sometimes research on public preferences only serves to reinforce something we always suspected.
Americans drink beer.
According to a Gallup poll, 40% of us choose beer as our alcoholic beverage of choice. Men are most likely to choose a beer over wine or liquor. Less-educated and middle-income Americans also prefer beer.
Drinkers of wine reported back at 30%. Wine consumption peaked with drinkers in 2005 at 39%. Current percentages of women drinkers show a whopping 50% choosing wine over beer and liquor. College-educated drinkers also responded with a preference of wine.
Liquor preferences moved upwards following a response of 24% in 2004. Drinkers preferring liquor made up 26% of those recently polled. Future polls will determine if liquor preferences are truly trending.
Most interesting is overall consumption among Americans shows 6 out of ten of us drink at least occasionally and that number has held over the last 8 decades. Percentages of drinking Americans reached highs at 70% in the 70s and 80s. This figure dipped slightly below 60% between the 30s and 50s.
What remains with us is our overall preference for beer. Beer has been a staple in America since her colonization and remains our go-to beverage. We are seeing the beginnings of a preference for liquor, but unless Gallup’s next poll shows another upward tick, we can’t yet label any trends.