Medicine

To stay healthy, avoid alcoholic drinks - including red wine

To stay healthy, avoid alcoholic drinks - including red wine

Drinking alcoholic beverages is linked to some 2.8 million deaths each year, according to researchers who concluded that there is no safe level of alcohol use.

One third of the world, that is 2.4 billion people, drinks alcohol.

Despite recent research showing that light-to-moderate drinking reduces heart disease, the new study found that alcohol use is more likely than not to do harm.

A recent analysis of data from almost 700 studies in The Lancet medical journal (via Bloomberg) found that there is absolutely no benefit to drinking alcohol as its health risks far outweigh any benefits you might get from it, like winding down after a long day or being able to tolerate people you can't stand for a few hours at a time.

"The most surprising finding was that even small amounts of alcohol use contribute to health loss globally", said senior study author Emmanuela Gakidou, a professor at the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

In addition to the prevalence of alcohol-related disease, the study also looked at injuries and death resulting from alcohol consumption, such as road accidents and self-harm.

Additionally, certain studies may not take into account that some non-drinkers may avoid alcohol because they already have health issues.

Even an occasional glass of wine or beer increases the risk of health problems and dying, according to a major study on drinking in 195 nations that attributes 2.8 million premature deaths worldwide each year to booze.

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This being said, Irish men are also drinking to risky levels, consuming an average of 4.5 alcohol drinks daily.

'Although the health risks associated with alcohol start off being small with one drink a day, they then rise rapidly as people drink more'.

Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi, professor and surgeon at Tata Memorial Hospital, which is among the contributors to The Lancet report, said that the consumption of alcohol was steadily increasing in India.

But in the 15-49 age bracket, alcohol emerged as the most lethal factor, responsible for more than 12 percent of deaths among men, the study found.

However, it's hard to estimate the risks for a person who drinks fairly infrequently - such as someone who has one drink every two weeks - so the findings might not necessarily apply to this population. Romanian men drink the most on average - 8.2 drinks a day - and Pakistani men the least, just 0.0007 drinks a day; Ukrainian women have the highest average daily consumption - 4.2 drinks - and Iranian women the lowest, at 0.0003 drinks per day. However, as per this extensive study, "The safest level of drinking is none".

There had, however, been previous research suggesting that low levels of consumption could have a protective effect against heart disease and diabetes.

Not surprisingly due to their populations, China, India and Russian Federation led the world in alcohol-related deaths in men and women.