Experts conclude there's no 'safe' level of alcohol consumption after global study

Pearl Mccarthy
August 25, 2018

"Any of these policy actions would contribute to reductions in population-level consumption, a vital step toward decreasing the health loss associated with alcohol use", the researchers said. We found that the risk of all-cause mortality, and of cancers specifically, rises with increasing levels of consumption, and the level of consumption that minimises health loss is zero.

Yes, it has been said that some alcoholic drinks, such as red wine, are beneficial, because they are very high in healthy antioxidants.

The researchers claimed there is "no safe level" for drinking - and that even one drink a day increases risk of ill health. But those who had two drinks per day had a risk 7% higher than non-drinkers. "But the evidence is the evidence".

Alcohol use was ranked as the seventh leading risk factor for premature death and disability worldwide in 2016, and was the leading cause for people aged 15-49 years old. The greatest proportion of alcohol-related deaths among young people were through self-harm, road injuries or tuberculosis.

The researchers noted some benefits of alcohol but still maintained that the side effects are far worse.

"The strong association between alcohol consumption and the risk of cancer, injuries, and infectious diseases offset the protective effects for heart disease in our study".

Not surprisingly due to their large populations, China, India and Russian Federation led the world in the total number of alcohol-related deaths in men and women.

In 2016, the government cut the levels of alcohol it recommends for men and women to no more than 14 units a week - equivalent to six pints of average strength beer or seven glasses of wine. Although they didn't make the top 10, 85.3% of men and 81.3% of women in the United Kingdom said they had tippled in the previous 12 months. While those aged over 50 were more likely to die from cancer, especially women.

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Denmark had the highest proportion of alcohol consumers, 95.3 per cent of women and 97.3 per cent of men, and Pakistan and Bangladesh the lowest. "There are risks and benefits, and I think it's important to have the best information about all of those and come to some personal decisions, and engage one's health care provider in that process as well".

One third of the world, that is 2.4 billion people, drinks alcohol.

For people who had two alcoholic drinks a day, 63 more developed a condition within a year and for those who consumed five drinks every day, there was an increase of 338 people, who developed a health problem. In males, the prevalence was 20 per cent and deaths attributed to alcohol drinking was 4.7 per cent (2.9 lakh deaths).

Meanwhile, some studies have questioned the long-standing idea that moderate drinking is good for heart health.

Alcohol abstinence is "in conflict with most health guidelines, which espouse health benefits associated with consuming up to two drinks per day", the study authors wrote.

"Based on these findings", Bell said, "at no point.is there a level of consumption that appears to lower the overall risk of developing any of the wide array of diseases investigated in comparison to non-drinking".

But the risk increases rapidly the more people drink.

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