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"Is Binge Drinking Really That Bad?" on BBC Earth

Photo Credit: BBC Earth

Photo Credit: BBC Earth

Whether it’s a few glasses of wine with dinner or a night on the town, how bad is drinking for our health? Doctors, and genetically identical twins, Chris and Xand van Tulleken find out.

Despite being a drug that has been enjoyed since the dawn of civilisation, the science around alcohol is surprisingly vague and conflicting. Can drinking a small amount of wine each day actually be good for us? Is occasional binge drinking that much worse than drinking small amounts of alcohol each day? Identical twins, Chris and Xand van Tulleken investigate the latest science and put their own bodies to the test to see how alcohol really affects us.

It is believed by many that moderate drinking is good for you. For one month Chris drinks a steady three units a day. However most of us don’t drink like that. We tend to drink a little during the week, and then splurge out at the weekend. So for the same month his brother Xand goes on an extreme drinking regime – consuming his 21 units all in one hit every Saturday night and taking the rest of the week off. How will Xand cope? And how will these two very different drinking patterns affect their health?

While the experiment is underway, the twins look at the hard science behind the way we drink. Is red wine really good for your heart? Is drinking every day better for your heart than not drinking at all? And what is it that really causes a hangover? The film reveals the latest – and surprising – research that explains why we feel so rough – and dehydration has little to do with it.

At the end of the month, both twins are given a battery of tests. The results are surprising and shocking – but chime completely with the latest science. Which way of drinking is best? You’ll never look at a night out, or your hangover, in the same way again…

BBC Earth is on Starhub Channel 407.