Zero tolerance: No safe level of alcohol

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In fact, sided with multiples studies that say drinking alcohol in a certain amount every day is fine, the belief only gets concretized.

The research also said that the "myth of the drunk Irish man" is inaccurate. Researchers found alcohol use was the leading risk factor for death and disability and accounted for almost 10 per cent of annual global deaths -about 2.8 million annually.

It also emphasised that health loss due to alcohol use was more pronounced for men than it is for women. We found that the risk of all-cause mortality, and of cancers specifically, rises with increasing levels of consumption, and the level of consumption that minimises health loss is zero.

Alcohol was found to protect only against ischemic heart disease - or hardening of the arteries - but the effect was described as small compared to the health risks from drinking.

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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 some conditions, but we found that the combined health risks associated with alcohol increases with any amount of alcohol".

The study included data on individual and population alcohol consumption from nearly 700 sources, in addition to nearly 600 studies on the risk of alcohol use.

Alcohol use was ranked as the seventh leading risk factor for premature death and disability worldwide in 2016, and was the leading cause for people aged 15-49 years old. "Our results indicate that alcohol use and its harmful effects on health could become a growing challenge as countries become more developed, and enacting or maintaining strong alcohol control policies will be vital", said Prof Emmanuela Gakidou, the report's senior author.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now recommends women limit alcohol consumption to one drink per day and two drinks per day for men, but it's easy to unknowingly go over these limits.

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Any protection against heart disease, stroke and diabetes offered by alcohol turned out to be "not statistically significant", said the researchers. For people who consume two drinks a day, the risk of developing one of the 23 alcohol-related health problems increases by 7 percent over one year; and for those who drink five drinks a day, the risks increases 37 percent over one year. "There are risks and benefits, and I think it's important to have the best information about all of those and come to some personal decisions, and engage one's health care provider in that process as well".

Some of the top-billed findings from the study that were pushed to the fore in the press release and have been widely quoted in the media, were that out of 100,000 non-drinkers, 914 were likely to develop a serious health problem such as cancer or suffer an injury. Men in Romania and women in Ukraine drink the most (8.2 and 4.2 drinks a day, respectively), whereas men in Pakistan and women in Iran drink the least (0.0007 and 0.0003 drinks a day, respectively).

Globally, the study found that about 2.4 billion people drink alcohol.

The risk is even more pronounced amoung younger people.

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