“Alcohol makes grand claims which we don’t see evidence for. Alcohol is a toxin, the risks outweigh the benefits”
Julia Manning, think-tank 2020Health, UK.
Why do we drink?
Go to a pub and the bartender will say, ‘What’s your poison?’ He doesn’t say, ‘What’s your longevity-enhancing health-promoting beverage?’ does he? So then we choose a poison, drink the poison, then drink more poison, get sick from the poison, we weaken our liver and longevity from the poison, and then end up at the doctor’s taking drugs for the poison, which will not work anyway as they are not addressing the cause. The truth is that alcohol damage is the third highest cause of death in the top ten preventable causes of death¹-³. Yes, read that again. More people die each year from alcohol abuse than from malnutrition.
Alcohol is emotional
People drink because it makes them feel better. It produces the same chemicals in the brain as exercising and laughing and it removes you from the reality of your life. Alcohol is addictive because it releases endorphins — the body’s way of making us feel pleasure and reward. It then changes our brain to be wired more for alcohol — hence the addiction⁴.
We drink to escape our current reality
We drink to let go of our concerns and break free of our constraints. We drink to feel sexier, more confident and more attractive. When you get right down into it, this is the sole purpose of drinking: to be in a different mental state by allowing the alcohol to cross over the blood brain barrier and to alter our place in the world. Being sober is being ‘here’, while being drunk, inebriated, buzzed, warmed up, calmed down, whatever you want to call it, is ‘not here’. This is the point. Alcohol changes your brain. Which begs the question; if alcohol is addictive, does not bring long-term happiness, causes disease and early death, and often violent behaviour or stupid and embarrassing behaviour…?
Moderate drinking is one drink per week with a meal
If you want to live a long healthy life then either give up the drink or cut back significantly. I recommend you do not drink at all, or if you do, then show it the respect it deserves. If you drink, remember that your kids will be watching. Think of your influence on them, think of being around for their weddings and consider the health of your liver. If you choose to drink, ask yourself these questions; Is this a special occasion? Is this the only day this week that I am choosing to drink? Is this the right thing to do? Am I drinking in good company? Do I have good food to eat with this alcohol? How do I make sure I have two glasses at most? Do I really want to drink or am I on automatic? And if you cannot get through the day, ask; what am I running from?
1. The 2010 Global Burden of Disease Study, The Lancet, and the ‘2010 Heart and Stroke Statistics’ report published by the American Heart Association and the WHO.
2. Study meta-analysis by Melanie Nichols and colleagues, of the BHF Health Promotion Research Group, Department of Public Health, Oxford University. British Medical Journal, 2012.
3. Study by Jeanine M. Genkinger. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, 2009.
4. Study by Dr Jennifer Mitchell, University of California, San Francisco, using positron emission tomography (PET). Science Translational Medicine, 2012.
Jason wishes to deeply thank, acknowledge and recognise the effort and contribution that the PIF Foundation has provided on a voluntary basis since 2014, as we educated, motivated and inspired change that helps transform the health, vitality and longevity of people all over the world.