Reading health news is tricky. Although most quote from “research studies”, no one really knows if the research is funded by an interested party and, hence, the results are predictable or, worse, pre-determined. But there are legitimate studies with such surprising results that they seem to have been manipulated from start to finish. Where this study about drinking alcohol and mortality falls, I don’t know, but it sure is interesting.
In 2010, Time reported:
… a new paper in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research suggests that — for reasons that aren’t entirely clear — abstaining from alcohol does tend to increase one’s risk of dying, even when you exclude former problem drinkers. The most shocking part? Abstainers’ mortality rates are higher than those of heavy drinkers.
At the bottom of the Time article is a link to another article published in 2009 titled Why Nondrinkers May Be More Depressed. Sounds odd, sure, because isn’t alcohol a depressant? It is. But it is also a “social lubricant”.
The most powerful explanation seems to be that abstainers have fewer close friends than drinkers, even though they tend to participate more often in organized social activities. Abstainers seem to have a harder time making strong friendship bonds, perhaps because they don’t have alcohol to lubricate their social interactions. After all, it’s easier to reveal your worst fears and greatest hopes to a potential friend after a Negroni or two.
Makes sense or sounds bullshit? Whichever it is, it is still food for thought.
The photo, by the way, is from the iced tea mojito recipe post.