Myth busted: No safe limits for alcohol intake

The new study concluded that any beneficial effects against ischemic heart disease were outweighed by the adverse

Thanks to data from the 2016 Global Burden of Disease Study, researchers were able to gather data for "195 locations from 1990 to 2016", inclusive of men and woman, aged between 15 and 95.

Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter, chairman of the Winton Centre for Risk and Evidence Communication at the University of Cambridge, made it clear however in his own appraisal of the paper. This study was only able to find a protective effect between low levels of alcohol consumption and a specific type of heart disease known as ischemic heart disease.

It analysed 694 global data sources in addition to 592 prospective and retrospective studies on alcohol consumption and found that approximately a quarter of the planet (2bn people) were drinkers, 63pc of who were male. Additionally, certain studies may not take into account that some non-drinkers may avoid alcohol because they already have health issues.

Alcohol use was blamed for 2.8 million deaths in 2016, according to the study, and was the seventh leading risk factor for premature death and disability.

He points out that his study looked only at drinkers, but the new research compared drinkers to non-drinkers in accessing risk and is one of the first to look at data from low- and middle-income countries.

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.

They also included an analysis of 23 health outcomes associated with alcohol use, including cardiovascular disease; certain cancers; noncommunicable diseases such as cirrhosis of the liver, alcohol use disorders and pancreatitis, communicable disease such as tuberculosis, intentional and unintentional injuries and transportation-related injuries.

"The evidence is adding up that no amount of drinking is safe", says study co-author Emmanuela Gakidou, a professor of global health and health metrics sciences at the University of Washington. "One drink a day does represent a small increased risk", she told the BBC, "but adjust that to the United Kingdom population as a whole, and it represents a far bigger number, and most people are not drinking just one drink a day". Diageo has also acquired a minority stake in Seedlip, an alcohol-free drink that aims to deliver the depth of flavor and mouthfeel of a high-end spirit.

Alcohol, says their report published in the Lancet medical journal, led to 2.8 million deaths in 2016.

The myth of moderate drinking Drinking occasionally or a glass or two of wine or beer everyday has been condoned for years as they have been assumed to offer health benefits.

Globally, one in three people drink alcohol - equivalent to 2.4 billion people - including 25 per cent of women and 39 per cent of men. However, as per this extensive study, "The safest level of drinking is none".

Adrian Chiles has said he was "too good" at drinking to notice he had a problem.

"When you think about it there's no safe level of doing anything".

Clarification: This article has been updated to provide more detail on the total number of alcohol-related deaths reported globally.

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