“The widely held view of the health benefits of alcohol needs revising”, the researchers wrote in their paper, published online August 23 in the journal The Lancet.
At the same time, many cancer doctors acknowledge that moderate alcohol consumption may be safe, says Noelle LoConte, an oncologist and associate professor at the University of Wisconsin. “And that’s something that really hasn’t been done for alcohol before”.
Researchers used data from 694 studies to estimate worldwide alcohol drinking habits and used 592 studies encompassing 28 million people to study the health risks associated with alcohol between 1990 to 2016 in 195 countries.
The study found that moderate drinking was, in fact, protective against ischemic heart disease.
There is no safe level of driving, but the Government do not recommend that people avoid driving.
That might seem like a completely obvious point to make.
There is some evidence that alcohol may reduce the risk of heart disease very slightly, but that effect is more than outweighed by the other damage it causes.
The most abstemious nations were those with Muslim-majority populations.
Researchers calculated that alcohol revenue would decline by two-fifths, or £13bn (€14.4bn), if all drinkers were to comply with the recommended consumption limits. This is a contrast to years of studies suggesting that a low intake of alcohol may have a preventative effect on some health conditions.
The study was conducted with the contradicting narratives about the dangers and benefits of alcohol in mind and with the intention of dispelling some of the confusion surrounding it. Looks like they succeeded.
As the base rate of risk was less than 1%, even drinking five drinks a day the risk only rose to 1.4%, that’s not to encourage that level of drinking but it is important to qualify the risks suggested by the paper. “So it was a much muddier picture when it comes to heart health, regardless”, Griswold said. “Alcohol use contributes to health loss from many causes and exacts its toll across the lifespan, particularly among men”.
In the USA, social acceptance of alcohol is at a high point.
“The problem is that parity in terms of drinking means a lot more harm”, he said. Some countries, such as Denmark, have started to relax their alcohol taxation laws, which reliably discourage consumption, while others such as the USA are eyeing similar changes.
“However, studies have shown that India has a large number of heavy drinkers – more than 75 ml/day or nearly every day of the week”.
The health risks likely only increase the more you drink, the study found. Of this, almost 42,000 were women. 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.
While these numbers might harsh our collective buzz, Griswold said that’s the point.
He added, “Although the health risks associated with alcohol starts off being small with one drink a day, they then rise rapidly as people drink more”.
It does sound a little bit daunting.