Thanks, French people. Thanks, researchers. Thanks, beer!
Thanks to a study done by the folks over at the Harvard School of Public Health, it has been confirmed that a couple of glasses of alcohol a day actually reduces the risk of suffering a heart attack -- validating what scores of college kids have suspected but could never substantiate.
Science rocks! Yeeaahhhh! High-five!
After noticing that the French have a surprisingly low risk of heart disease despite a diet that consists of alcohol (okay, and a little rich food), researchers began a study that lasted 12 years and, throwing out all of the technical mumbo-jumbo, here is what they found: Drinking rocks! And it protects the heart or something.
(By the way, how do you get to be on one of these studies? Just wondering.)
"When I saw the study, my first reaction was, praise the Lord!" says Bill Duggan, owner of Madam's Organ in Adams Morgan, who plans to hang a framed copy of an article about the study near the front entrance. "As a 50-year-old man and a bar owner, this is great. We can be the first health-conscious nightclub now."
(Question: If you don't drink all week, can you have six drinks on Saturday? Just wondering.)
But not everybody in the health field is buying in so quickly. John Lee, 45, owner of Sutton Natural Food Market on L Street in Northwest Washington, isn't quite ready to push the soy milk aside for six-packs.
"First of all, I don't have a license," he says. "And second, I don't know if I believe the study with beer, maybe with wine."
Kindra Butts, 22, a graduate student at the University of Maryland University College, was also a bit skeptical of the study. "I heard about it on the radio and it wouldn't seem to me to be healthy, but if they say it is so, then so be it."
(Hey, believe -- science gave us the George Foreman Grill.)
With this new study in hand, it is only right that a few things must change:
* From now on the keg will be referred to as the "life tank."
* Gyms will have to include a full bar near the free weights.
* Vodka smoothies!!!
* Yoga classes are BYOB.
And now for the de rigueur voice of caution:
"There has been nothing in any of these studies that says that if you don't drink you should start," says Washington Hospital Center cardiologist Ramin Oskoui. "The study shows that if you do drink, then having two glasses of alcohol daily isn't harmful. But we have to be careful with this kind of study. It can be a double-edged sword."
Since the study was published Wednesday, Oskoui has found himself doing more than just checking hearts. "Every day I get about 10 calls from patients who heard about the study and want to drink," he says. "A spouse will call me and say, 'Is it okay that my husband drinks a bottle of wine at night?' I've found myself becoming an arbitrator in marital disputes."
Oskoui has even been approached by his father-in-law about doing a public service announcement for his winery.
"He called my wife the day that the study came out and asked her if I would do it," he says. "I told him I hadn't seen the study, so he faxed it to me."
Now that the study has confirmed positive effects of booze, Duggan can't help but ponder new slogan possibilities: "We are promoting a healthy lifestyle -- come in and drink!"
"Finally, I'm a humanitarian," he says. "I'm not running a bar, I'm running a life-saving station."