Whiskey: The new miracle medicine. September 10, 2009Posted by ourfriendben in wit and wisdom.
Tags: bourbon, red wine, Scotch, whiskey, whisky, whisky for heart health
Our friend Ben and Silence Dogood were recently stunned when our friend Rob, a longtime journalist turned journalism professor, informed us that drinking whiskey was good for the heart. “I’ve interviewed doctors about this, and it’s true,” he asserted.
Now, far be it from us to doubt the word of the almighty press, much less the word of the medical establishment or the word of an old friend, but this struck both of us as a bit far-fetched. So later on, we consulted our good friend Google in hopes of discovering the truth. Obviously, red wine has gotten tons of press for its heart-healthy antioxidants, presumably the reason why wine-drinking cultures with traditionally high-fat cuisines still manage to have far healthier hearts than Americans. (Wine enthusiasts who could finally justify their passion through the all-important health stats were doubtless crushed when it finally came to light that grape juice had the same effect.) But whiskey?
Sure enough. Or, at least, whisky, as in Scotch whisky (without the “e” of Tennessee whiskey and Kentucky bourbon whiskey). Turns out that a joint Scottish-Danish study found that drinking a big old dram of Scotch once a week had far more heart-protective benefits than red wine, but only if you knocked back about three or four times as much as a typical pub serving and only if you drank it once a week.
Call me a skeptic, but our friend Ben had a few questions about this research. First, it was sponsored in part by the Scotch Whisky Research Institute. Doubtless research funded by the McDonald’s Research Institute would find that eating Big Macs promoted longevity and research funded by the Monsanto Research Institute would find that pesticides and genetic engineering were good for your health. Second, this study was carried out in 1998, and to my knowledge there have been no followup studies to confirm or deny. And third—good news for Scotch drinkers—I could find no information at all about why the researchers had concluded that, to get the health benefits, one should only drink Scotch once a week. Whatever the case for any of this, I invite you to draw your own conclusions.
Sadly from our own health perspective, Silence and our friend Ben are bourbon rather than Scotch drinkers, and to our knowledge no study has ever been done proclaiming the health benefits of bourbon. But wait… perhaps the Bourbon Institute is sponsoring a study…