Just lovely, gorgeous, logic

People who are very fit, healthy and active are more likely to be heavy drinkers because they feel their exercise habits entitle them to an alcoholic reward, a study suggests.

They find that people who are fit (able to run well on a treadmill it seems) are more likely to drink heavily than those who are not. More than 14 units is much more common among the fit than the sorta fit and the unfit.

The academics suggest that the correlation between alcohol intake and running ability might be due to the fact people who are exercising regularly are more inclined to give themselves a reward. However, it may also be down to the fittest people also having addictive personalities and exercise and drinking may both be symptoms of the same core personality trait.

Actually, the simplest explanation is that more than 14 units makes you healthy. Which, odd as it may sound to those steeped in modern medicine, is actually true. All causes risks of death etc are higher for teetotallers, lower for boozers and only go back to reaching teetotal levels at proper toper levels, 40 units a week and up sorta thing.

That is, the old wisdom of partaking moderately of grain and grape is good for you is true. All that’s changed is that the modern prodnoses are getting to define what “modestly” means.

21 thoughts on “Just lovely, gorgeous, logic”

  1. Never try to let the facts get in the way of someone else’s agenda Tim, it doesn’t work.
    See: Sugar, salt, animal fats, climate change, wealth, poverty (cont. p94).

  2. It’s like that Mrs Merton question to George Best
    ” If you hadn’t done all that running around, perhaps you wouldn’t have been so thirsty.”

  3. Treadmill/long distance running is one of the most outdated and stupid ways of determining “overall fitness”.
    It’s like determining the overall performance of a car on just fuel consumption, or just top speed, or…

    Add to that the well documented concept of “runners’ high”, where the body reacts to the prolongued stress of running long distances by dumping dopamine in the brain.

    So it is not surprising that people who are used to long distance running will seek the same high in moderate (to normal people) alcohol consumption, given that that alcohol buzz has the same effect as the highly addictive dopamine dump of the runners’ high.

    However, it may also be down to the fittest people also having addictive personalities and exercise and drinking may both be symptoms of the same core personality trait.

    This is not a “may also” , but a given. And the only thing they did get right.

  4. A woman drinking more than one glass of wine a day or man drinking more than two glasses is a heavy drinker?

    These people are insane.

  5. The health/booze literature is just a mass of crap observational studies plagued with confounding variables. I hope that drinking lightly (in the customary sense of “like me”) is healthy: I know it is sociable and enjoyable. So I shall continue to do it whatever the latest paper on the subject claims to demonstrate.

    Smoking cigarettes, though, is a different kettle of fish. Filthy habit, offensive to others, and unhealthy with it. People really should go back to pipes and cigars.

    Shooting rioters is probably a good and healthy hobby, and is allowed to 17 year olds in the US unlike drinking a beer. But practice makes perfect: let’s hope that next time Mr Rittenhouse doesn’t fail to kill two of the buggers.

  6. From the GP’s Dictionary:
    Alcoholic: somebody who drinks more than you do.

    (For most of the GPs I know, that’s a pretty high bar.)

  7. But “units” is uniformly independent. “Glass” depends on the drink and the size of the glass. “Pint” depends on the strength of the contents. “Unit” is uniformly ABV * CCs and is often even printed on the side of the container. 45cc of 3.5% is 1.5 units. Simples.

  8. I have a bit of a penchant for endurance sports and also drink beer pretty regularly. I rarely have more than about four beers and tend to go on the wagon when I have a big event that I need to train for. So not addicted to beer then. At 63 I’m now finding that even doing the 5k parkrun is starting to hurt my knees so I’m concentrating on swimming. I don’t really think about rewarding myself for exercising, I’ve never really thought about it like that. Reading this back I’m not really sure what my point is, I’m just adding some more data to the study maybe.

  9. Smoking cigarettes, though, is a different kettle of fish. Filthy habit, offensive to others, and unhealthy with it. People really should go back to pipes and cigars.

    Packed up ciggies many moons ago, but damn it I enjoyed them. By the time I kicked the habit was on two packs of Gauloises/day and a cigar or two on top. Am afraid they will have to prise the glass of Balvenie from my cold dead hand.

  10. @ Frank H
    @ Robbo
    Valid question/point. However that is not enough to explain the differential (there have been studies, expecting but failing to demonstrate that it was). It is possible that those who inherit superior physiques also inherit a liking or tolerance for alcohol and this is neither provable nor disprovable with current technology.

    Anecdata alert: after our regular training session on Tuesdays, the oldest (82, but far from slowest) member of the group regularly collects an even older friend of his (who was competing seriously as an athlete before I was born) from the clubhouse and they go to the local ” Xxx Club” for a drink – which seems to support the quotation except for the “heavy” as they both remain slim and sufficiently sober to drive.
    There is the secondary argument that if we burn off the calories, a couple of drinks doesn’t make us fat, so it is the “fat guilt” that causes the idlers to cut down on their beer.

    Actually I should qualify Frank’s statement by saying I think many of them are sane but evil. When the decision time came as to whether I should take one-quarter of my occupational pension in cash, I asked the NHS for a medical thanks to the propaganda in case I was due an early death due to my moderate alcohol consumption – the liver result came back “all clear, nothing to worry about” (but, to my amazement since I do not carry much fat, I was told I had high cholesterol).

  11. I’m not sure how relevant this might be but there may be a cultural aspect to the issue of tolerance to alcohol. Before we had filtered and chlorinated water piped into our homes, getting hydrated without acquiring a fatal disease was a challenge. In the far east they came up with the idea of boiling your water and covering up the taste by flavouring it with dried leaves. Closer to home we discovered that fermenting fruit or malted grain made our water drinkable. Hundreds of generations of your ancestors surviving a beer and wine based diet might just have given you the free gift of worry free boozing. Plus of course tea, you can drink as much tea as you like.

  12. Ted S., Catskill Mtns, NY, USA said:
    “I hate the use of the term “units” of alcohol”

    I hate the references to “drinking alcohol”. Virtually no-one drinks alcohol; we drink wine, or beer, or whisky, or whatever, that happens to have alcohol in it.

  13. I used to work at a drop forging factory and the men who did the really heavy stuff ( steel blocks about 6 ft square) were supplied with beer and encouraged to drink as much as they wanted. No one got pissed as the work was so strenuous and the temperature so hot that any alcohol was worked out of the body before the end of shift.

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