Yesterday, while having a pint of an excellent American-style IPA (pump clip below) in the Sir Henry Segrave, our local Wetherspoons, I found a copy of the Daily Express - yes, I found it, honestly - and read an article stating that: "a pint of beer a day can improve the condition of major blood vessels around the heart, according to new research." All well and good, but when I searched Google to find this article today, I also came across one from the Sunday Express of 9 June, a mere 27 days earlier, that asserted: "New demands were made last night for shock cigarette-style health warnings on alcohol labels after top scientists revealed drinking more than just two pints of beer a year heightens the risk of cancer ... the Alcohol Public Health Research Alliance (AMPHORA), an EU-funded body ... warned that the maximum amount to prevent other alcohol related diseases, such as cirrhosis of the liver, was about two drinks a month." [my emphasis]
The beer I was drinking in Spoons
Talk about mixed messages! I wonder whether journalists ever actually read their own newspapers, but then again, I question whether Express journalists can read at all. What the second article didn't make clear was by how much the risks had been increased. You could argue that walking past smokers outside a pub and briefly breathing in some cigarette smoke might increase your risk of contracting a smoking-related illness, but most sensible people would realise that the increase was at most marginal. I wouldn't be surprised if the dangers lurking in "more than just two pints a year" were similarly marginal, so I'm wondering whether a statistical blip is being blown out of all proportion here for the sake of a journalistic shock-horror headline: it wouldn't be the first time. The other thing that concerns me is that AMPHORA is funded by EU taxpayers; I'm not anti-EU, but this is scarcely a good use of our money.