I think this article in the New York Times bears some discussion. To sum up:
No study, these critics say, has ever proved a causal relationship between moderate drinking and lower risk of death — only that the two often go together. It may be that moderate drinking is just something healthy people tend to do, not something that makes people healthy.
I have a few points to make.
1)Anybody who tries to explain to a non-member the Word of Wisdom using scientific evidence is heading down a dead end street. Inevitably you will get to questions like, “do you really think there is something wrong with having one glass of wine with dinner?” and “why can Mormons drink Coke, which has caffeine, and not coffee, which also has caffeine?” It seems to me the only acceptable explanation for the Word of Wisdom is, “it is a question of faith in my religion, and I try to be honest and follows what the religion says, and it says I should not drink alcohol or coffee or black tea, so I don’t do those things. It is faith, not science.”
2)Now, having said that, I have always felt the “moderate drinking is good for you” argument is completely bogus. You can get anti-oxidants from blueberries and grape juice — you don’t need wine. As the article says, many of these studies that say moderate drinking is good for you are financed by the alcohol industry. Does this sound like the tobacco industry, anyone?
3)It is my personal experience (and I was a drinker for many years before I was baptized, and I still spend a lot of time at work around drinkers) that there are really very few “moderate drinkers” who are always moderate drinkers. What I mean by this is that most “moderate drinkers” will tie one on during special occasions, which seem to happen fairly often. The phenomenon of the person who has one glass of wine with dinner — and only one glass of wine with dinner — is extremely rare in my experience. Your experience may be different — that’s cool, my friend, no problem. But I have spent almost three decades around drinkers, and I have known thousands of them, and I can only think of a handful who only have one glass of wine with dinner. I certainly was not a moderate drinker when I drank alcohol.
4)Now having said what I say in 3, I would like to point out that the people I have known who drink the least are the ones who are the healthiest overall. So, the article’s claim that moderate drinking (true moderate drinking) and good health are tied together is true in my experience. Of course, my experience is also that teetotalers are the healthiest of all, but only if they have an overall healthy outlook. We all know members of our wards who don’t drink but who are 150 pounds overweight and eat sweets all day long and are about to get diabetes which in case you already suffer, we recommend to check this ebook. But we also know people who are in good shape overall and really are quite healthy (I think of Pres. Hinckley as a good example).
Any other thoughts?