In their spare time, doctors read Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels, apparently. And then they count how many drinks the famous 007 consumes in one day.
Doctors in Derby and Nottingham in England decided to sit and read 14 James Bond novels, like Casino Royale and From Russia With Love, jotting down in a notebook each day and every drink the famous spy gulps down. The doctors charted 88 days of alcohol consumption, with Bond drinking some 1,150 units of alcohol within that time frame. They didn’t count the days he was in prison, rehab, or the hospital. They then published a study about their findings in the British Medical Journal.
On average, James Bond drinks 92 units of alcohol a week, or five vodka martinis a day. That’s four times the recommended maximum alcohol intake for men in the UK, which states that an adult male should drink no more than 21 units a week — about 4 units a day. “You wouldn’t want this person defusing a nuclear bomb,” Patrick Davies, a consultant in pediatric intensive care at Nottingham University Hospitals, told the BBC. “He’s a very glamorous person, he gets all the girls and that’s totally incompatible with the lifestyle of an alcoholic, which he is.” James Bond would be classified in the “top whack” of severe alcoholics, Davies continued.
Alcoholics are at risk for liver damage, an early death as well as impotence. So the authors of the study believe that even though it’s a rather light-hearted point of research, it also brings an important message: excessive drinking can be damaging, and it causes up to 2.5 million deaths per year globally.
There is, of course, such a thing as a “functioning alcoholic” — someone who is able to maintain a high degree of functionality in their daily lives, including their job and some relationships. But the doctors of the study note a person who drinks as much as James Bond most likely wouldn’t even be functioning at that point: “The level of functioning as displayed in the books is inconsistent with the physical, mental, and indeed sexual functioning expected from someone drinking this much alcohol,” they said. They pointed out that in Casino Royale, Bond consumes over 39 units of alcohol in one sitting before jumping into his car for a high-speed chase. He ends up crashing the car and spending 14 days in the hospital. “We hope that this was a salutatory lesson,” the authors wrote.
“Although we appreciate the societal pressures to consume alcohol when working with international terrorists and high stakes gamblers, we would advise Bond to be referred for further assessment of his alcohol intake,” the authors wrote in their conclusion.
Source: Johnson G, Guha I, Davies P. Were James Bond’s drinks shaken because of alcohol induced tremor? BMJ. 2013;347:f7255.