HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH? by Leonard Gross


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Editor/writer Gross (The Last Jews in Berlin, Mirror, etc.) set out to investigate the health problems of ""social"" drinkers, and discovered that the term was inadequately defined. So he rephrased his question: How much can one safely drink before incurring health risks, damaging one's mind, or taking years off one's lire? First, Gross takes a brief look at how we use alcohol socially--drawing on personal experience, of course. Then, he describes the established risks of alcohol use (cirrhosis, cancer, and hypertension; birth defects; intellectual impairment) and how they affect moderate drinkers. The statistics are now new, but Gross sets them in a clear light and never overinterprets. (Thus, per capita alcohol consumption figures are often used to show the US as relatively low in comparison to other countries--but these figures do not correct for the large number of American abstainers.) The ""sale"" level for drinking, Gross finds, is probably two drinks or less per day--but since most people underestimate the amount they pour, he also advises careful measurement. (His friends, he reports, don't always appreciate this practice.) His other pointers on controlling intake--drink only wine or beer, confine drinking to one occasion per day--are also helpful, if again not new. What is different and valuable here is the focus on social drinking, along with Gross' ingratiatingly light touch.

Pub Date: April 27th, 1983
Publisher: Random House