There’s No Safe Level of Alcohol Consumption, According to New Study


The report linked alcohol to the deaths of 2.8 million people worldwide in 2016, 2.2% of all deaths in women and 6.8% in men, making it the seventh leading risk factor for mortality and disease. Just 0.8 per cent of Pakistani men and 0.3 per cent of Bangladeshi women drank alcohol. A drink a day may decrease a woman's risk of heart disease but increase her risk of breast cancer.

The study analyzed information from almost 700 previous studies to estimate how common drinking alcohol is worldwide; and examined close to another 600 studies including a total of 28 million people to investigate the health risks tied to alcohol. He is a researcher at the University of Washington Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, in Seattle. The highest number of alcohol drinkers is in Denmark (95.3 per cent women and 97.1 per cent men) while the lowest are in Pakistan for men (0.8 per cent) and Bangladesh for women (0.3 per cent).

Any protection alcohol may provide against heart disease is outweighed by the health problems it causes, particularly cancer, according to the authors of the study, published August 23 in The Lancet. Of the 2.8 million deaths attributed to alcohol that year, the three leading causes were tuberculosis, road injuries and self-harm.

However, in terms of total numbers, Gakidou said, "most deaths from alcohol come from cardiovascular disease and cancers when you look at average consumption by age and sex within countries".

Men in Romania who partake knocked back a top-scoring eight drinks a day on average, with Portugal, Luxembourg, Lithuania and Ukraine just behind at seven "units" per day.

Analysing data from 15 to 95-year-olds, the researchers compared people who did not drink at all with those who had one alcoholic drink a day.

The relative increase in risk rose to 7 per cent for people who consumed two drinks a day and soared to 37 per cent for those who downed five drinks.

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While some medical studies - and a great deal of media attention - have focused on possible health benefits of drinking alcohol in moderation, a large new report warns that the harms of alcohol greatly outweigh any potential beneficial effects.

Britain's health authority, for example, suggests not exceeding 14 drinks per week "to keep health risks from alcohol to a low level". The researchers defined a standard drink as one that contains 10 grams of alcohol, which is equivalent to a 12-ounce beer that's 3.5 percent alcohol by volume.

Of the more than 2 billion people around the world consume alcohol, about 63 percent are men, the researchers wrote.

The study found that moderate drinking was, in fact, protective against ischemic heart disease.

"Previous studies have found a protective effect of alcohol on some conditions but we found that the combined health risks associated with alcohol increase with any amount of alcohol. Our results indicate that alcohol use and its harmful effects on health could become a growing challenge as countries become more developed, and enacting or maintaining strong alcohol control policies will be vital", said Prof Emmanuela Gakidou, the report's senior author.

"I can't see negatives associated with no drinking".

The risk is even more pronounced amoung younger people.