Don’t worry, this isn’t a post about politics! I’ll keep my views on Brexit to myself.
This is the first in a series of posts that will eventually come together as a short series on “ignoring the elephant in the room” and as the series builds, you’ll see how the posts all connect together, to highlight ‘gross national stupidity’ and the ignorance our media perpetuates by spreading lies and misinformation.
£350m per week for our NHS
As surely everyone in the country can remember, during the Brexit campaign, the Leave campaign drove around Britain in a bus touting the slogan “We send the EU £350 million per week, let’s fund our NHS instead. Vote Leave”
This was one of the cornerstone arguments of the Leave campaign – stop giving money to the EU, and give it to the NHS instead.
This post is not about politics, but you may have followed in the news how this £350m GBP promise has been pulled apart and rubbished…the £350m figure does not account for Britain’s EU rebate, it’s a gross figure not a net figure, and it fails to account for everything our nation gains in return for EU membership. Scholars have largely proven that in fact, once the UK leaves the EU, there will be zero surplus cash available for the NHS, quite a lot less that £350m per week.
At this stage, at time of writing, there is no sense exploring that issue any further because:
- Until the Brexit negotiations are complete, nothing is certain and we can’t know whether the UK economy is going to be better off or worse off
- That’s not the point of this post
What’s this got to do with health?
News items telling the public that drinking alcohol has health benefits are a regular feature of the tabloid press, and once again this week I spotted this news item this morning on my Facebook feed:
“Glass of Red Wine Equals 1 Hour at Gym, New Study Says”
My goal this week is not to ‘bash alcohol consumption’ specifically, but just to highlight how scientific facts become distorted by the time they find their way into the mainstream press.
The news article linked above clearly attempts to inform the reader that drinking red wine is so good for your heart, that it’s as good as exercise. Of course, if we read down a little way, we find the message is slightly less clear…the research lead is noted as saying that a compound found in red wine, resveratrol, can have positive benefits on your heart and other muscles which may be beneficial for those who cannot exercise. He stresses that for those physically incapable of exercise, a glass of red wine may be beneficial alongside what little exercise they can manage.
So here we have a classic example of how a research er has made a suggestion that “may offer some benefit” to a specific ‘special population’ but by the time it reaches the popular press, the headline is “Glass of Red Wine Equals 1 Hour at Gym, New Study Says” with no mention of “might” or “for those who are physically incapable of exercise” and the short article is accompanied by a picture of red wine being poured, captioned with the words “Glass of red wine equals 1 hour at gym.”
Clearly, this is somewhat stretching the truth – to suggest to the population at large that they will somehow derive the same benefits from sitting at home drinking wine, as they would from going to the gym and working out for an hour. How ridiculous!
So what is this compound, resveratrol?
You can read a little about it hear on Wikipedia.
Resveratrol is a compound found in the skin of the grapes they use to make wine. In the grape skin, the resveratrol is found in much higher concentrations…so why not publish an article saying “eating grapes can benefit your heart” – that would surely be better health advice to give to the general public, yes? In a society wrestling with an obesity epidemic, would that not be more responsible journalism? Read more
Alcohol is another topic I am asked about literally all the time, like pretty much every single day. Alcohol can be an emotive topic for a lot of people, and it is something many people find hard to give up. Or perhaps more pertinent…it’s something that I find, with a lot of people, they are very resistant to the thought of completely giving it up.
Personally, I am teetotal now, just over 3 years at time of writing, and I can honestly say it’s one of the best decisions I have ever made. Certain friends gently encouraged me in this direction using wisdom not pressure, and I am eternally grateful to them for that little ‘gentle push’. Now I am clear and free from having alcohol in my life, I look at the world of alcohol and what it does to people, with a very clear external view of the effect this psychotropic drug has on people’s lives.
You can read about how, when and why I personally quit (I used to drink quite a lot) here:
Now, to address the MND official position on alcohol, and the question I am most commonly asked, which is usually something like “I understand that heavy boozing is bad for you and it will make you fat, but don’t they say moderate alcohol consumption is good for you? Isn’t it supposed to be healthier to drink a glass of red wine every day, than to abstain completely?”
If you intend to completely live the MND way, then I recommend Read more