Last month, a pack of snarling prohibitionists with the American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) issued a new statement that comes out against any and all alcohol consumption. So, if you’re making a toast or two to the New Year today, I hope you’re enjoying it. If these prohibitionists ever get their way, we may face even tighter alcohol laws.
At first glance, ASCO’s report, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, appears to be a professional presentation. But it’s actually a political manifesto wrapped around a few shreds of science.
I use the term “manifesto” because it reminds me of The Communist Manifesto issued by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels to provide a “science of human society.” As you well know, ignoring the science is nothing new for those who seek to promulgate some kind of totalitarian vision.
In the case of ASCO, I was struck by how casually they dismissed all the science showing the many health benefits of moderate alcohol consumption. As you know, multiple, large-scale studies over several decades consistently show the heart health benefits of having a couple drinks a day.
And what about the new studies on alcohol and brain health? As I told you last month, moderate drinkers were twice as likely as non-drinkers to live to the age of 85 without dementia.
Plus, think of all the well-designed, long-standing studies that illustrate the “French Paradox.” This so-called “paradox” shows that French men and women have half the rates of chronic diseases even though they drink more wine and alcohol, smoke more, and eat more fatty foods than the rest of the world.
Twenty years ago, researchers labeled these findings as paradoxical — most likely because they didn’t fit the prohibitionist narrative. But now that more and more studies support these findings, isn’t it time to stop making them seem so absurd?
In addition, think of all the studies showing the health benefits of following the Mediterranean Diet. Of course, moderate wine consumption is a key component of that diet as well.
In fact, even before we had these well-designed studies on the heart benefits of moderate alcohol consumption, we knew about it anecdotally in medical circles…
I vividly recall the teachings and observations of our clinicians and faculty at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital during the 1970s. We all saw how patients who drank alcohol had less heart disease, based on decades and decades of clinical observations on hundreds of thousands of individual patients.
There’s no magic here.
It’s obvious to anyone outside a research lab that moderate alcohol works by promoting relaxation and reducing stress. And stress is the No. 1 killer behind high blood pressure and heart disease. Stress also contributes to other chronic diseases, including dementia, Type II diabetes, and even cancer!
Even the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the American Heart Association, and the American Cancer Society (despite all their other shortcomings) are all okay with Americans enjoying one or two drinks a day.
But the scrappy, little Society for Clinical Oncology is not about to take a back seat to the big, ol’ American Cancer Society on this one.
Attack focuses on “conflicting data” about heart health
ASCO claims there’s “conflicting” data about the benefits of alcohol for heart health.
And they cite one review originally published in the journal Addiction that claims to “cast doubt” on decades of positive health findings about moderate consumption.
According to that review, labeling former drinkers and occasional drinkers threw off all the results of all the previous studies on alcohol consumption over many decades.
But that argument throws the baby out with the bathwater.
Plus, more recent studies directly addressed the issue of labeling former and occasional drinkers. And the benefits of moderate consumption were still apparent. Actually, some of the newer studies found even stronger benefits for moderate consumption when controlling for these factors.
In addition, I find it ironic that they chose to cite a review that came from a journal called Addiction. Because, of course, any alcohol consumption can’t be just part of normal social behavior…an honored cultural tradition…a well-informed health regimen…or just a nice way to relax and help manage stress. It just has to be a nasty addiction!
It’s an old trick…
Find something, somewhere, that allows them to say the science “isn’t settled.” Even if it comes from a questionable, quasi-scientific journal with an obvious agenda.
Here’s another trick they employed…
Wrap a big lie around a banal truth
According to the National Institutes of Health, among the 86 percent of American adults who drink alcohol only about 6 percent of them have clinical alcohol use disorder.
And they say, “the greatest [cancer] risks are observed with heavy, long-term use” of alcohol with which we can all agree.
By their logic, there just has to be something wrong with moderation too…
But it’s a non-sequitur, meaning “it does not follow.” As I often repeat, just because something is harmful in excess, doesn’t mean it’s also harmful in moderation!
So, here’s just some of what they want to do to the 86 percent, to protect the 6 percent:
-Regulate number and location of alcohol retail outlets
-Increase alcohol taxes and prices
-Limit days and hours of sale
-Resist privatization of retail alcohol sales in states with current government control
ASCO says it wants to take a “proactive stance” to counter this scourge. And they want oncologists to lead the charge. Perhaps they’ll start issuing jackboots at the door of the local oncology office…
What a chilling vision — more big government control, costs, restrictions, and regulations! All in the service of a prohibitionist political agenda, with a few shreds of science.
Sounds to me like they want a “New World Order.” But I think they may have missed their calling by one century. They should have been marching in 1917 for the Volstead Act for prohibition instead of practicing oncology in 2018. (Prohibition was a total disaster and was repealed a dozen years later.)
The clinical oncologists, down in their foxholes, now think they have some ammunition against moderation.
I’ll tell you what’s not moderation — giving out toxic chemotherapy and radiation therapy. As I spelled out in the September 2016 issue of my Insiders’ Cures newsletter, these “standard” oncology treatments actually cause second and third cancers that are essentially untreatable, and are one of the new leading causes of cancer itself.
Tell the oncologists to get their hands off your glass of cheer, and enjoy a toast (or two) to the New Year. Oncologists need to get their own house in order in terms of what’s really causing cancer in this country.
You can learn more about the many benefits of moderate alcohol consumption in the December 2017 issue of my Insiders’ Cures newsletter. If you’re not yet a subscriber, start your year off right with all the latest insider information, so you and your loved ones can feel better informed about your health in 2018 — and beyond.
- “Alcohol and Cancer: A Statement of the American Society of Clinical Oncology,” J. Clin Oncol (www. ascopubs.org) 11/8/2017
- “Alcohol is a cancer risk, ASCO says,” Medscape (www.medscape.com) 11/8/2017