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

Saturday, 25 Aug, 2018

They were responsible for 27.1 per cent of alcohol-related deaths of women and 18.9 per cent of men in 2016.

The study, published in The Lancet, used global data from the Global Burden of Disease report to analyze the effects that alcohol consumption had on 23 health conditions and alcohol-related risks among people ages 15 to 95 in 195 countries between 1990 and 2016.

"There is always a lag between the publication of new evidence and the modification and adoption of revised guidelines", said Gakidou, who admitted to being an "occasional drinker" herself.

The countries with the highest percentage of men and women who reported drinking in the previous year were Denmark, Norway and Germany.

One in three, or 2.4 billion people around the world, drink alcohol, the study shows.

A standard alcohol drink was defined as one containing 10 grams of alcohol.

While the study's scientists accept that moderate drinking can have some health benefits, namely for heart disease, these are outweighed by the cocktail of adverse effects that also come with alcohol.

"Although the health risks associated with alcohol start off being small with one drink a day, they then rise rapidly as people drink more".

Which countries drink the most?

A new comprehensive global study on drinking alcohol suggests there is no safe level of drinking. "The solutions are straightforward: Increasing taxation creates income for hard-pressed health ministries, and reducing the exposure of children to alcohol marketing has no downsides".

"Alcohol poses dire ramifications for future population health in the absence of policy action today", Emmanuela Gakidou, professor of global health at the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation and study co-author, said in a statement. This is because the drinking levels were far higher generally among men, with Romanian men drinking more than eight drinks daily. According to their findings, alcohol has led to 2.8 million deaths in 2016.

The downside of alcohol plays out for everyone regardless of age: It's the leading cause of tuberculosis, self-harm, and driving injuries among those 15 to 49, the study found, and the leading cause of cancer in those over age 50.

This being said, Irish men are also drinking to unsafe levels, consuming an average of 4.5 alcohol drinks daily.

Two drinks per day increased the chances of disease and injury by 7 percent, the researchers wrote. "Now its more like two thirds in homes, and its men and women equally, by and large", he said.

Any protective effect of 1-2 units of alcohol per day on ischaemic heart disease was offset by the risks, and overall the health risks associated with alcohol rose in line with the amount consumed each day. The risk climbed to 37 percent with five drinks.

"There are many seemingly benign things in life that statistically increase the risk of death, such as driving, swimming at the beach, etc".

However, since we don't want to totally ruin your weekend, it's worth pointing out that the risks of moderate drinking are fairly low.