Welcome to the Eighth issue of The Alcoholism Guide newsletter.

Health And Alcohol Advertising

For years now we have been subjected to the wine industry telling us how healthy their product is, in fact it has now got to the stage where wine, and in particular red wine, is somehow superior to other types of alcohol. Wine has always been seen as a drink of the more sophisticated and wealthier, but over the past couple of decade or so it has also become a drink of the healthier.

There is no doubt that wine does have health benefits, studies have shown that those who drink moderate amounts of alcohol are less likely to suffer heart disease than those who are teetotal. Red wine has been shown to contain a substance called resveratrol which helps to prevent artery damage.

This rather simple dichotomy of wine good all other alcohol bad, is now being challenged in the most laughable way by the alcohol industry, with the introduction onto the market of a number of products making (explicitly and implicitly) spurious health claims.

Fortified vodkas can now be found on store shelves. Vodkas have appeared which contain, B vitamins, antioxidants and protein. Devotion Vodka which was said by the CEO of the company who produced it (which has since gone out of business), to be “less bad for you” than other alcoholic drinks. It contained 100% of an adults b vitamin requirements, however, the CEO failed to disclose that alcohol actually inhibits the absorption of b vitamins; “It’s like putting vitamins in cigarettes” noted Dr. R. Curtis Ellison of Boston University Medical School.

The vodka market is particularly active in attempting to portray itself as healthy. Three of the top 5 selling vodkas in the U.S. have some kind of fruit portrayed on their packaging and claim that they, the vodkas that is, are ‘fresh’ and ‘all-natural’ thus giving the idea that they are somehow healthy.

Beer and fitness are not two words that you would expect to go hand in hand but for years beer manufacturers have sponsored major sporting events. Michelob, a European brewer, has taken it a step further by not only sponsoring the British Olympic teams of 2004 and 2008 but also introducing a product called ‘Michelob ultra’ marketed as “a smart choice for adult consumers living an active lifestyle.”

None of these companies are stupid enough to come out and say their products are healthy, instead they use marketing techniques to portray their drinks in a more favorable light and it works. Sales of Devotion Vodka, mentioned above, rose fivefold after the B-vitamin fiasco.

This kind of marketing needs to be regulated. Not because drinking alcohol is bad per se but because the message it sends out to consumers is that alcohol is healthy.

Drinking alcohol is enjoyable for many, as is having a burger, chips and milkshake, but we don’t need big business to hoodwink us into thinking it’s healthy also.

I've added quite a number of pages this month on various topics, scroll down and you'll find a short description of each and a link to the relevant page on The Alcoholism Guide Website.

I have also written an E-report called AA CRACKED which I have made available on the site. This report is an attempt to debunk the myths about Alcoholics Anonymous that contribute to it being regarded as the only viable alcoholism treatment option.

Here is the download link, please take a look at it, and if you have any comments please contact me. Also, if you think it may be of interest to anyone you know, pass it on. It is free to be used/distributed by anyone as long as its original form is kept.

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Deborah Morrow, M.S. Addiction Psychology, is the director of treatment programs for The Alcoholism Guide website. In her practice Deborah provides on-line coaching and support for those dependent on alcohol or who require other services such as relapse prevention or court mandated services. (Read More)

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