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There's No Such Thing As Safe Amount Of Alcohol: Study

Aug 24, 2018 11:01 PM EDT
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Cheers to the weekend? It might be smart to think twice about it, as scientists say no amount of alcohol is actually safe to drink.

Study Highlights Deadly Risks Of Alcohol

Sure, a single glass of wine isn't likely to kill you on the spot, but new data from the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation shows that even low levels of alcohol consumption have adverse effects on the health.

For the study published in the journal The Lancet, researchers analyzed alcohol consumption and its effects in males and females ages 15 to 95 years in 195 locations from 1990 to 2016. Drawing from 694 data sources, 592 studies on alcohol risk, and over 500 collaborators, it's one of the most comprehensive studies conducted on the subject.

"We now understand that alcohol is one of the major causes of death in the world today," Richard Horton, editor of The Lancet, says in a statement, adding that it is urgent that the world acts now in order to prevent the deaths of millions of people from alcohol-related diseases and injuries.

In 2016 alone, nearly 3 million deaths around the world were attributed to alcohol use. Alcohol is the leading risk factor for disease burden worldwide, the authors wrote in the paper, accounting for almost 10 percent of deaths in those 15 to 49 years old.

The findings also link alcohol to a total of 23 health outcomes, including cardiovascular diseases, cancers, various communicable and non-communicable diseases, intentional and non-intentional injuries, and specifically transportation-related injuries.

Don't Drink, Period

For the scientists involved in the study, the choice is clear. While there is a widely held belief that a glass or two of alcohol daily provides health benefits, the study concludes that the safest amount is actually none.

Dr. Emmanuela Gakidou, senior author from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, stress that skipping the alcohol is the healthiest option. She, along with the other study authors, are calling on policy makers to focus on reducing the global level of alcohol consumption in the face of the overwhelming evidence of its harmful effects on the health of people of all ages.

"There is a compelling and urgent need to overhaul policies to encourage either lowering people's levels of alcohol consumption or abstaining entirely," she says. "The myth that one or two drinks a day are good for you is just that — a myth. This study shatters that myth."

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