Now, I have heard it all. An independent consultant for the global drinks industry, who has a PhD in Biological Sciences from Heriot-Watt University, touts that "whisky can protect you from cancer -- and science proves it."
According to Mr. Swan, the ellagic acid in single malt whiskey acts as a "free radical scavenger" that "absorbs" or "eats up" free radicals produced from eating. "The free radicals can break down the DNA structure of our existing cells, which then leads to the risk of the body making replacement rogue cancer cells," he said. While it may be true that antioxidants may help ward off free radicals, what he forgets to mention is that alcohol use can lead to liver damage, esophageal cancer and a myriad of other diseases. Not to mention the addictive habits that illicit many of today's social ills such as drunk driving and mental or physical abuse.
Let's take a look at Mr. Swan's profile from the EuroMedLab Glasgow 2005 News March issue. Mr. Swan "assists the quality aims of blue chip brewers, wine makers, and spirits distillers as well as small producers in 5 continents...He is a member of the scotch malt whiskey society taste panel...(here's the kicker) His particular love is the quality and varied flavours of single malt scotch whiskies." Yea, I bet it is. Can you say "Major Conflict of Interest" here. I knew you could. Sounds like to me his particular love is lining the insides of his pockets with pounds, euros or whatever they're using over there now by espousing half truths that ordinary people will take as fact.
Statements like this is just outright irresponsible. I found no more than 28 articles touting this supposedly great news! What Mr. Swan here is doing is taking a small part out of the whole picture and using it solely for the benefit of his clients. Most of these articles make small mention of the damaging effects of alcohol use.
What is disappointing about irresponsible statements like this is that it sets back the healthcare industry's efforts to educate the public about true preventative measures for cancer. Yesterday, I was reviewing news articles of when our cancer clinic was first opened in 1937. Guess what one of the major challenges cited to the success of the program was? Education of the public to the truths about cancer prevention and treatment. Overcoming the belief that cancer was a communicable disease was a monumental challenge in that day. At least then they didn't have news articles stating that it was.