This week, I have mostly been drinking gin, although, to be fair, most weeks I have mostly been drinking gin. But as part of my New Year health kick I have reduced my consumption of juniper-based spirits from bottles to glasses, so that's a step in the right direction, right? It's a pretty lame effort for a Dryanuary, I know, but there's something about middle-aged drinking that justifies a regular nightly tipple. Maybe it's the newfound maturity; quality over quantity. After all, my main objective is now relaxation rather than obliteration. But were those binge-drinking sessions really that bad for us? Given that the average male should imbibe no more than three or four units of alcohol a day, is a slowly slowly approach to drinking preferable to downing it all in one go and giving our livers time to recover?
You may think that's a no-brainer, but, this week (BBC Earth, Wednesday at 10.45pm), Oxford-educated Chris and Xand van Tulleken (above) will attempt to answer the question: Is Binge Drinking Really That Bad? Being genetically identical makes the twin doctors the perfect guinea pigs. Embarking on a month-long experiment for the BBC's Horizon series, all in the name of science, the jovial doctors sink their quota of alcohol in opposing ways to see whose body suffers the most. Of course, it's all rather funny to watch the young Dr X throw back 21 shots of vodka in a single sitting, transforming himself into a drunken emotional mess incapable of removing his own shoes. But in the cold light of the morning after, the boys' discoveries may leave you thinking twice about pouring yourself another double.
While we may believe that our lifestyles are not especially unhealthy, these medical documentaries shed a light on just how much we kid ourselves that washing down that extra doughnut with another bottle of merlot is good for us. A happy mind is a happy body, we say, but does not knowing how unhealthy we are actually protect us? Knowledge is undoubtedly power, but can too much information be harmful?
Continuing the Horizon series, affable Dr Michael Mosley has a camera inserted into his "beautiful rectum" and, with clenched teeth, undergoes a battery of medical exams to determine Are Health Tests Really A Good Idea? (BBC Earth, Friday at 10.45pm). Experts are concerned that, with all the screening and scanning available to us, ours is becoming a culture of overdiagnosis and neurosis, turning us into a society of hypochondriacs.
"There are a lot of tests out there that are useless and probably quite unreliable," says Mosley, who submits himself to DNA profiling, a heart scan and the cancer-seeking probe among others. "For instance, I think there are an awful lot of allergy tests that have absolutely no substance to them."
Maybe as one doctor surmises, we should be concentrating on treating the sick and not be worrying so much about the healthy.
I'll drink to that.