A large new global study published in The Lancet medical journal has confirmed that there is no safe level of alcohol consumption.
The researchers admit moderate drinking may protect against heart disease but found that the risk of cancer and other diseases outweighs these protections.
The Global Burden of Disease study looked at levels of alcohol use and its health effects in 195 countries, including the UK, between 1990 and 2016. 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.
You might be surprised to see that they included people under the permitted drinking age. However, In 2018, 44% of those aged 11-15 in England had ever drunk alcohol. Interestingly, 39% of the 11-15-year-old who had drunk alcohol said they bought it, presumably using the best fake ID possible so that they didn’t get caught out.
The researchers found that out of 100,000 non-drinkers, 914 would develop an alcohol-related health problem such as cancer or suffer an injury. But an extra four people would be affected if they drank one alcoholic drink a day. With many people drinking excessively and regularly then might be a wise time to think about how your alcohol consumption is damaging your liver. You may find it is the perfect time to engage in a liver detox.
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. Is it time to quit now before you find yourself suffering the problems of the alcohol sobriety timeline, yes, yes it is!
One of the study authors, Prof Sonia Saxena, a researcher at Imperial College London and a practising GP, said: “One drink a day does represent a small increased risk, but adjust that to the UK population as a whole and it represents a far bigger number, and most people are not drinking just one drink a day.”
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The lead author of the study Dr Max Griswold, at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), University of Washington, said: “Previous studies have found a protective effect of alcohol on the body, but we found that the combined health risks associated with alcohol increases with any amount of alcohol.
“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. Although the health risks associated with alcohol start off being small with one drink a day, they then rise rapidly as people drink more.”
The study shows that British women drink an average of three drinks a day, and rank eighth in the world of highest drinkers.
British men by contrast, ranked 62nd out of the 195 countries surveyed, even though they also drink on average three alcoholic drinks a day. This is because the drinking levels were far higher generally among men, with Romanian men drinking more than eight drinks daily.