Controversial goth rocker Marilyn Manson has reportedly cleaned up his act. Sort of. A sobering New York Times profile depicts the now 46-year-old Antichrist Superstar, who is currently promoting a new album called The Pale Emperor, as a mostly rehabilitated "law-abiding pothead" who has recently "taken his acting more seriously." But perhaps the most shocking revelation about today's kinder, gentler Manson involves his unexpected breakup with a long-time vice: 

"He’s even given up his beloved absinthe to help his figure," reports the story's author, Melena Ryzik.

It's a pretty significant split, as any longtime Manson fan will tell you. The guy was arguably the most famous connoisseur of the so-called Green Fairy since Vincent Van Gogh. So strong was Manson's affinity for the wormwood-laced spirit that the singer even came out with his own signature brand of the stuff, Mansinthe, which notably won a Gold Medal at the 2008 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

Think of it like George Foreman giving up grilling.

Even more startling than the breakup itself is the stated reason for the split. Manson is worried about his waistline? People have long considered absinthe unhealthy but mostly because of its potency (Mansinthe, for instance, is 66.6 percent alcohol) and legendary hallucinogenic effects, which is a big reason why the preferred drink of 19th-century Bohemians was widely banned until modern science eventually debunked its druggy connotations. The idea that contemporary drinkers should abstain simply because of calories is new.

Will drinking absinthe really make you fat? Or, is the health worry just a modern-day myth that only furthers the drink's dubious history?

According to the Wormwood Society, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit dedicated to providing "scientifically accurate information about absinthe, the most maligned and misunderstood drink in history," it's the latter.

"Absinthe itself isn't any more fattening than any other alcoholic beverage," writes Brian Robinson, the nonprofit's review editor, in an email. "Alcohol does contain calories, but the only additional calories absinthe could contain would be any added sugar. Some lower-quality brands contain added sugar (look for the word "liqueur" on the label), but higher-quality brands (including Mansinthe) don't add any. However, if he were to be using sugar cubes as part of his normal preparation routine, that could certainly add some calories. He might have said absinthe, but possibly intended to mean alcohol in general. Many dietitians recommend reducing alcohol consumption to help reduce overall caloric intake."

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