Burlington, Wis., January 11, 2016 – Award-winning alcohol and health writer, Scott Stevens, calls new governmental dietary guidelines “dangerous to the health of America” and says the new rules “contradict common sense and evidence-based research” including research by the very organization that released the five-year recommendation. Stevens takes issue with the 2015-2016 Dietary Guidelines, released jointly by the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Agriculture (USDA) Jan. 7.
“There are no documented health benefits to consuming beverage alcohol,” says the alcoholism recovery author. “Evidence-based studies provide robust data that conclusively demonstrate alcohol’s undisputed ability to ruin otherwise healthy tissue. It isn’t a health-conscious dietary addition in any amount.”
The eighth edition of the government’s guidelines state: “If alcohol is consumed, it should be consumed in moderation—up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men—and only by adults of legal drinking age.” The statement leads to an alcohol appendix, which Stevens reports, “in 300 words doesn’t mention a single health consequence of drinking a toxin.”
“First of all, to endorse any amount of alcohol for a person with the disease of alcoholism – which afflicts 21 million Americans – is entirely irresponsible, yet they only caution those who are pregnant,” says Stevens. “Secondly, the guidelines are said to be components of a healthy and nutritionally adequate diet to help promote health and prevent chronic disease such as cancer, hypertension, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Alcohol use – even moderate use – is a risk factor for all five of those chronic diseases.
“Lastly, saying daily consumption is ‘okay’ diminishes the fact that daily use is one warning sign of the disease of addiction,” concludes the recovery advocate and alcohol/health author, who has a chapter in each of his two most recent books detailing the health consequences of alcohol use. “Daily use is a contributing factor to more than 60 other diseases. Including eight cancers. The HHS even lists the drug (alcohol) as a known, not a suspected, human carcinogen in its 13th list of carcinogens released only four months ago.”
Stevens notes dietary guidance for the UK, released in the same week as the US recommendations, clearly stated there is no justification to drink for health reasons, and consumption of any level of alcohol increases the risk of a range of cancers. “We’re on the same planet, using the same data, but we’re clearly not on the same page when it comes to promoting public health.”