Is there really any safe alcohol level? Up until currently, it was widely known that small amounts of certain alcohols could be beneficial or protect against heart disease. But a new study conducted by the University of Washington School of Medicine now concludes there is no safe alcohol level at all. According to the study, in 2016 there were almost 3 million deaths around the world caused by alcohol use. This large health risk shows that there is no safe level of drinking, as was previously thought. Though it is thought that moderate drinking may still protect against heart disease, the risk of cancer other disease is too high and negates drinking in general. Cutting alcohol out of the diet completely is the only sure way to protect against the myriad of health problems that can be connected to alcoholic drinking.
Connections between alcohol use and premature deaths due to accidents, heart disease and cancer were also mentioned. Before the study, it was widely thought that alcohol could be consumed in moderation without impact, but the only real way to minimize the health risks that alcohol poses are by abstaining completely. The standard drink size varies by country, but is thought to be an average of 8-10 grams of alcohol.
Other health risks include communicable disease such as tuberculosis and lower respiratory infection, diseases like diabetes and epilepsy and transportation-related injury such as car accidents or accidental death through injury. The study used data from over 600 sources and analyzed data from people aged 15-95 who either drank one drink a day, or did not drink at all. Those who drank two alcoholic drinks per day were at risk for developing disease and those who drank five drinks per day increased in risk even more. Combined health risks increase with any amount of alcohol, according to the study.
Current guidelines put out by the CDC and according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans state that moderate alcohol consumption is defined as up to 1 drink per day for women and up to 2 drinks per day for men. It it still not recommended that people begin drinking alcohol for any reason, however. The guidelines also state that anyone younger than age 21, women who are pregnant, those who are driving or taking prescription or over-the-counter medications or those with medical conditions or a history of alcohol abuse should steer clear of alcoholic drinking.
For some, avoiding alcohol is the best course of action, as possible benefits of alcohol do not outweigh the risks. Those who continue to consume alcohol should gauge their current state of health and consider any history of medical problems before continuing to engage in even moderate alcohol consumption. It is recommended that those who do consume alcohol keep it to a minimum to help minimize any risk, even if that risk remains a small one.