Scientists now say there’s no amount of alcohol that’s safe to drink

This photo taken Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015, shows owner Dee Walker talking to a customer at The Fermenter’s Market at The Rex, a craft beer and wine shop now open on Sunday after voters in Sylacauga, Ala., decided to legalize alcohol sales on Sunday. The change is part of a broad pattern across the South as churches lose their grip on a region where they could long set community standards. AP Photo/Jay Reeves

Whether you drink regularly or only once in a while, researchers now say that there’s no good amount for you to imbibe.

A new study on global alcohol use and disease risk published in The Lancet last week claims that alcohol use remains a leading factor in death and disability, in spite of past studies claiming possible positive effects of moderate drinking in some conditions.

“The most surprising finding was that even small amounts of alcohol use contribute to health loss globally,” senior study author Emmanuela Gakidou told CNN. “We’re used to hearing that a drink or two a day is fine. But the evidence is the evidence.”

The study found that alcohol was a leading risk factor in premature deaths of people between the ages of 15 and 49 globally in 2016, and accounted for nearly 10% of all deaths. Amongst all age ranges, alcohol played a part in 2.8 million deaths that same year.

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The study looked at 694 individual data sources for its conclusions, as well as 592 other studies on the risks of alcohol consumption.

Also amongst their findings, alcohol itself was the seventh leading risk factor in death and disability worldwide.

They found that risks of mortality, particularly with cancer, rise with the consumption of alcohol, and that the only way to minimize health loss with alcohol is to not drink it.

Other health issues affected by alcohol consumption are cardiovascular diseases, infection diseases, and accidents like drowning, fires, and automobile accidents. Self harm and other violent acts also figured into their study.

The researchers have a simple suggestion: “These results suggest that alcohol control policies might need to be revised worldwide, refocusing on efforts to lower overall population-level consumption.”

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