Is it safe?

Shivers will be flowing down the spines of all readers familiar with the movie ‘Marathon Man’, as Laurence Olivier asks Dustin Hoffman who just happens to be strapped to a dentist’s chair ‘Is it safe?’

We have been informed for some time that drinking alcohol in moderation is safe. But that position started to change recently when the NHS produced a leaflet ‘drinking causes damage that you can’t see’. Referring to ‘lower risk’ drinking, the leaflet states ‘drinking consistently within these limits is called lower risk, rather than safe. Because drinking is never completely safe in all circumstances’

The scientists it seems are also starting to become more vocal in telling us that, drinking ethanol or alcohol as its more commonly referred to isn’t actually safe after all, as highlighted in the The Daily Mail.

So was the human body ever designed to ingest alcohol? Certainly the human body will tolerate it and deal with it by breaking it down and disposing of it, but the same can be said of many substances that are toxic to humans. Opinions vary and there are a number of potential conflicts of interest that mean that getting a definitive answer that all sides agree on may be problematic.

The alcohol industry in the UK provides millions of jobs in the production of alcoholic drink, packaging, delivery, distribution and advertising. Exports are significant and the UK is considered to be a world leader in the production of whisky. Add to this that fact that there are substantial tax revenues generated and it is not difficult to see that the decision makers may be facing some difficult choices in the not too distant future.

We know that it is damaging and the costs of managing the consequences of the use of alcohol are fast catching the perceived financial benefits. But the situation is deeply complex; can you imagine the response to the banning of alcohol on demonstrable health grounds? There would be uproar at the very least and possibly rioting across all sections of society.

But why is alcohol so important to modern life if it’s damaging and toxic? I would suggest that the problem is not with a toxic chemical. It is our perception that somehow we deserve it and ‘need’ it to transit modern life. We are not taught the alternatives nor do we take the time to learn them.

So is it safe? Your body already knows the answer, but will you listen?

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