I had to get your attention so you'd read this article by Stanton Peele that appeared in the Wall Street Journal earlier this week. He commented on the USDA's 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, released just a few days ago (1/31/2011):
But here's one thing that might surprise you. Chapter Three, titled "Foods and Food Components to Reduce," deals with alcohol. The Guidelines, created by America's leading health researchers, state: "Alcohol consumption may have beneficial effects when consumed in moderation (up to two drinks daily). Strong evidence from observational studies has shown that moderate alcohol consumption is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. Moderate alcohol consumption also is associated with reduced risk of all-cause mortality among middle-aged and older adults and may help to keep cognitive function intact with age."
What was that again?
Mr. Peele gives a quick overview of what's known about the health benefits of alcohol in moderation (I won't insult you with a recitation of all the well-documented detrimental effects of over-consumption) and imagines what would happen if health organizations were less squeamish about the health data around moderate alcohol consumption. MayoClinic.com has a reasonable article on the topic of moderate drinking and provides some definitions of "moderate" so you don't go foolin' yourself.