March 30, 2023

Alcohol: Time to Put a Cork in It?

by Science Vs

Background show artwork for Science Vs

For decades we’ve been yanked around over alcohol: one day it’s actually good for us, the next day it’s a killer. And recently there’ve been reports that even a little bit of booze is bad for you overall. We first looked into this back in 2019, and since then the research has evolved faster than a nanobrewery’s tap list. So today we’re diving back into the science to find out: is just a bit of alcohol dangerous? We talk to epidemiologist and nutritionist Prof. Eric Rimm, psychologist Prof. Tim Stockwell, cancer researcher Dr. Susan Gapstur, and substance use disorder researcher Dr. Peter Butt.

Find our transcript here: 

In this episode, we cover: 

(00:00) The debate over alcohol

(03:26) Why alcohol might be good for us

(10:10) Why alcohol might be bad for us

(16:30) Why are experts recommending even less alcohol now?

(19:30) Alcohol and cancer risk

(25:32) Our conclusion on alcohol


This episode was produced by Meryl Horn with help from R.E. Natowicz, Wendy Zukerman as well as Disha Bhagat, Rose Rimler, Michelle Dang, Joel Werner, and Kaitlyn Sawrey. We’re edited by Blythe Terrell. Editing help from Caitlin Kenney. Gimlet’s managing director is Nicole Beemsterboer. Fact checking by Erica Akiko Howard, Michelle Harris and Michelle Dang. Mix and sound design by Catherine Anderson, Bobby Lord and Peter Leonard. Music by Peter Leonard, Bumi Hidaka, Emma Munger and Bobby Lord. A huge thanks to all the researchers we got in touch with for this episode including Dr. Arthur Klatsky, Dr. Krishna Aragam, Dr. William Kerr, Dr. Tim Niami, Professor William Ghali, Dr. Wendy Chen, Max Griswold and many others. Recording help from Andrew Stelzer, Susanna Capelouto, Katie Sage, and Joseph Fridman. Also thanks to Lynn Levy, the Zukerman Family and Joseph Lavelle Wilson.  

Science Vs is a Spotify Original Podcast and a Gimlet production.