Just three months ago the highly regarded and influential publication the British Medical Journal stated that moderate drinking was good for our hearts and that even heavy drinking lowered our risk of a heart attack. Good.
Last week the same British Medical Journal announced that moderate drinking is bad for our brain and causes a steep decline in mental functioning. Bad.
To the dedicated drinker – and this country could take dedicated drinking as our specialist subject on Mastermind – these findings provoked a Sophie’s Choice dilemma. Heart or brain? Do we really need both?
The dilemma is compounded because “moderate” and “heavy” drinking are highly subjective and nuanced terms in this country.
Even the Government is confused. As it stands, under HSE guidelines you can go into a pub in Dundalk and happily knock back 21.2 units of alcohol, content in the knowledge that you are in “the low risk of harm from alcohol” category.