Consuming alcoholic beverages is more harmful than previously thought

A few days ago he joked about how the news of informative topics often tend to contradict each other. A few years ago we could read things like a glass of wine a day, equivalent to one hour of physical activity, while I will say the opposite today. Drinking alcohol, even moderately, is more harmful than previously thought. In fact, according to a new macro study, there is no "safe" level when it comes to consuming alcohol, so the most advisable is (no matter how hard it sounds) abstinence.

The results of this study, which studied the effects of alcohol in 195 countries between 1990 and 2016, have just been published in the prestigious medical journal The Lancet. From what I can read, the study analyzed information from millions of people around the world to discover that alcohol is related to nearly three million deaths annually. In addition, 10% of deaths among people between 15 and 49 years are related to the consumption of this substance.

But we were not that a dram per day was even advantageous? Indeed, the same study has shown that moderate use is protected against ischemic heart disease. However, these protective effects are overcome by the risk of alcohol consumption, including the strong links between alcohol consumption and the risk of cancer and other injuries, such as car accidents.

To reach this conclusion, the authors of this meta-study have analyzed the information composed of nearly 700 previous studies aimed at estimating the frequency with which alcohol is consumed throughout the world, and have examined nearly 600 other works ( 28 million people) with the intention to investigate health risks related to alcohol consumption.

Researchers found that worldwide about 1 in 3 people (32.5%) drink alcohol, which corresponds to 2.4 billion people worldwide, including 25% of women and 39% of women. men.

Alcohol consumption was the seventh risk factor for early death in 2016, accounting for about 2% of female deaths and 7% of male deaths. For people between 15 and 49 years old alcohol consumption was related to 4% of deaths among women and 12% of deaths among men in 2016.

Specifically, for people who drink one drink a day, the risk of developing one of the 23 health problems related to alcohol increases by 0.5% in a year compared to someone who does not drink.

But the risk increases rapidly as people drink more. For those who consume two glasses a day, the risk of developing one of the 23 health problems with alcohol increases by 7% in a year and for those who drink five glasses a day, the risk increases by 37%. a year

In their work published in The Lancet, the authors do not hesitate to confirm that "the general vision of the health benefits of alcohol needs a review", after which they conclude that "our results show that the safest level of alcohol consumption is the zero."

However, as in everything, it is useful not to take these conclusions to the limit. As suggested by Keith Humphreys, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University, who did not participate in the study: "That does not mean that if you drink a drink on your birthday and another one at Christmas, you're going to die." In summary: if you do not drink often, it is very difficult to estimate the level of risk that you suffer.

Based on these results, the researchers believe that public health campaigns should consider abstaining from alcohol, as this study – the most advanced so far on the influence of alcohol on human health – confirms that alcohol is one of the main causes of disability, disease and death in the world.

Will we see a new dry law in the future? If the health authorities suggest such a thing, the fight will be difficult and expensive.

The study was funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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