New study debunks popular belief that light drinking keeps people healthy

The researchers also found that, for people aged 15 to 49, booze was the leading cause of early death in 2016


                            New study debunks popular belief that light drinking keeps people healthy

A team of researchers are now claiming that alcohol alone is responsible for killing close to 2.8 million people every year globally by causing cancer, heart disease, and road accidents, and, in certain cases, worsening tuberculosis. The researchers, moreover, did not find any evidence that light drinking can have a positive impact on a person's health, reports NBC News.

The international team of researchers published their findings in the Lancet Medical Journal stating that governments need to change the guidance they give to their citizens with regards to alcohol consumption and should consider taxes and other measures to discourage drinking. “Although the health risks associated with alcohol start off being small with one drink a day, they then rise rapidly as people drink more,” said Dr. Max Griswold of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington who led the study.

Cocktails being served during the Grey Goose after-party for Idris Elba's film 'Yardie', hosted at Soho House Berlin on February 22, 2018 in Berlin, Germany.
Cocktails being served during the Grey Goose after-party for Idris Elba's film 'Yardie', hosted at Soho House Berlin on February 22, 2018 in Berlin, Germany.

“Previous studies have found a protective effect of alcohol on some conditions, but we found that the combined health risks associated with alcohol increase with any amount of alcohol,” he added.

The large international team of researchers examined data from more than 1,000 studies. They found that there is indeed some evidence that alcohol may reduce the risk of heart disease very slightly, however, in most cases, the effect is outweighed by the other damage it causes. As per the researchers, whose work was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, alcohol stands in the seventh position when it comes to an overall cause of death.

Through their study, the researchers also found that booze was the leading factor for early death in 2016 for people aged 15 to 49, and that the use of alcohol caused death by injury, by self-harm and by worsening tuberculosis in this group. As for older people, it was found that cancer is the most common fatal health consequence of drinking.

Alcohol stands in the seventh position when it comes to an overall cause of death.
Alcohol stands in the seventh position when it comes to an overall cause of death (Getty Images)

The results of this particular study fit in really well with another research which came out on Thursday claiming that men who drank an average of seven drinks a day as teenagers had three times the risk of developing prostate cancer later in life. “The prostate is an organ that grows rapidly during puberty, so it’s potentially more susceptible to carcinogenic exposure during the adolescent years,” Emma Allott, who teaches nutrition at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said in a statement.

“We also found a positive association between higher cumulative lifetime alcohol intake and high-grade prostate cancer diagnosis,” the team wrote in their report, published in Cancer Prevention Research.

Italian students from the Primo Levi Technical Institute of Vignola in the Modena Province, toast with glasses of beer in a pub during a school trip to Strasbourg, France to visit the European Parliament on May 18, 2004 (Getty Images)
Italian students from the Primo Levi Technical Institute of Vignola in the Modena Province, toast with glasses of beer in a pub during a school trip to Strasbourg, France to visit the European Parliament on May 18, 2004 (Getty Images)