It’s no surprise that we all enjoy a pint every now and again, after a particularly long day or a hellish time at the office. Plenty of studies have come about extolling the virtues of a glass of wine a day, or a peg of whisky at night. However, it turns out that those studies may well be hogwash, as a new study has confirmed (what we already knew deep down inside) that no level of alcohol consumption is really safe.
The study published in the Lancet, confirms our worst fears – that alcohol isn’t really good for us. While the researchers do admit that moderate drinking may protect against heart disease they did find that the risk of cancer and other diseases outweighs these protections.
Analysing data from 15 to 95-year-olds, the researchers compared people who did not drink at all with those who had one alcoholic drink a day. They found that out of 100,000 non-drinkers, 914 would develop an alcohol-related health problem such as cancer or suffer an injury. But an extra four people would be affected if they drank one alcoholic drink a day.
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 strong association between alcohol consumption and the risk of cancer, injuries, and infectious diseases offset the protective effects for heart disease in our study. Although the health risks associated with alcohol start off being small with one drink a day, they then rise rapidly as people drink more.”
Prof Saxena said: “Most of us in the UK drink well in excess of safe limits, and as this study shows there is no safe limit. The recommendations need to come down further and the government needs to rethink its policy. If you are going to drink, educate yourself about the risks, and take an informed risk.”