Top 10 Reasons Why Beer Is Bad For You
- A Response From The National Authority On Tobacco And Alcohol (Nata)
Michael Hall has proclaimed “Top 10 Reasons Why Beer Is Good For You” in The Sunday Leader of February 7. He begins by declaring that “everyone is looking for a reason to drink beer.” When a person opens his case with such an unsubstantiated, palpably false statement what he subsequently says does not merit a second glance. Because of the potential harm that the lies, damn lies and statistics he has paraded in his article might do to innocent, uncritical young people reading it, NATA considers it necessary to comment perfunctorily on them.
Let us now focus on Hall’s top 10 reasons.
1 Hall says that beer obviously reduces stress and that this is perhaps the best reason that beer is good for your health. It goes without saying that our uncritical, uninformed judgments about what is obviously true often turn out to be false. Thus, the earth is flat to our naked eye; but in fact it is round. Again, a mirage makes water visible to our eyes, but there is no water. In like manner it is not at all obvious that beer reduces stress in everyone who drinks it.
What is obvious to students of physiology is that those who find beer relaxing are rather like Pavlov’s experimental dogs that salivated when they heard a ringing bell even in the absence of food. What has happened to them is that on several occasions when they met socially to relax they had drunk beer. As a result a “condition reflex” had become established in which beer became the stimulus for relaxation. Chocolate or candy or music could have been substituted for beer to produce the same “conditioned relaxing” effect. Thus, there is no intrinsic stress reducing property attributable to beer.
2 That beer is good for the heart is a statement that is repeated ad nauseam. What must be remembered is that the human body does not consist of the heart alone. There is some evidence that people who consume limited quantities of alcohol acquire some protection from coronary heart disease. But, it must be pointed out that alcohol is highly addictive and regular intake in some people can lead to an early death from liver disease. And there is no science or art to predict who will become addicted to alcohol. So, on the principle of ‘better safe than sorry’ it is wise to avoid beer altogether. Like the first puff of a cigarette, your first gulp of beer may well be your first step of your march to an early grave.
3 Beer promoter Hall says that beer improves blood circulation. To improve the circulation is to protect from heart disease. So this is only another way of repeating the previous point in order to increase the number of benefits that he can attribute to beer.
4 Being chock-full of fibre is another virtue Hall attributes to beer. If it is fibre that you are looking for, then a good serving of kohila (Lasia spinosa) is a cheaper and fuller source of fibre. According to Hall what fibre does is to lower the risk of heart disease. Therefore, this is a repetition of the same old nostrum. Hall seems to be talking in accordance with advice of Adolf Hitler: “Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it.”
5 According to Hall, beer is a multi-vitamin. His examples of vitamins found in beer include magnesium, selenium, potassium and phosphorus. Even a school child knows that these elements are not vitamins. One has to be a very credulous ignoramus to believe that they are vitamins.
6 In yet another exemplification of Hitler’s doctrine of repetition, Hall tells us that beer can prevent stroke. How? By improving cardio-vascular function. Here he is again making the point that beer is good for the circulatory system.
7 According to Hall, beer keeps your brain young. And what is the evidence he cites? Some unconfirmed research on elderly Italian men and women which showed that moderate drinkers had a 40% lower risk of mental impairment. How on earth this translates into the conclusion that beer keeps your brain young, is unfathomable. It looks as though home brewer of beer Mr. Hall has been educated beyond his capacity for analytical thinking.
8 Hall’s statement that beer is good for your liver must be the diabolical expression of willful ignorance. That alcohol is a liver poison is universally known. I dare say that for anyone to make such a reckless statement based on a Beer Net publication requires the mentality manifested by the second-murderer in Shakespeare’s play Macbeth.
9 “Beer cures insomnia” announces Hall. Heaven knows that there are innumerable causes of insomnia. If the reason for insomnia is the loud barking of your next door neighbour’s dog, then the dose of beer required to cure your insomnia may put you to sleep forever.
10 Quoting some unconfirmed report Hall asserts that beer fends off gall-stones. He does not say whether this is a causal relationship or a mere association. However that may be, there are much safer methods of fending of gall-stones than swallowing a well known liver poison.