New study shows there's no 'healthy' amount of drinking
You've seen the studies and stories before. Is red wine good for your heart? Drinking white wine could help you lose weight. An antioxidant in red wine fights cancer. Does vodka help burn fat? Drinking whiskey helps control diabetes.
The Mayo Clinic says moderate alcohol consumption has possible health benefits, but it suggests moderation.
It's easy to laugh and say you're looking out for your health as you're pouring a glass of wine. But beyond those headlines, there might be a deeper truth: There may be no amount of alcohol that is "good" for you. It might be not as bad, but it probably isn't healthy, according to research posted by The Lancet. In other words, the risks of drinking far outweigh any health benefits.
In a massive global study, researchers at the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation studied the levels of alcohol use and the effects on health on people between 15 and 95. The study covered nearly 200 countries between 1990 and 2016.
The study's main finding: "Alcohol use is a leading risk factor for global disease burden and causes substantial health loss. We found that the risk of all-cause mortality, and of cancers specifically, rises with increasing levels of consumption, and the level of consumption that minimizes health loss is zero. These results suggest that alcohol control policies might need to be revised worldwide, refocusing on efforts to lower overall population-level consumption."
Almost 3 million deaths in 2016 had alcohol as a contributing factor, according to the study.
"The conclusions of the study are clear and unambiguous," study author Robyn Burton wrote. "Alcohol is a colossal global health issue and small reductions in health-related harms at low levels of alcohol intake are outweighed by the increased risk of other health-related harms, including cancer.
The study, funded by the Bill and Melissa Gates Foundation, advocates a plan similar to what's been used with tobacco. The recommendations are to make it more expensive via taxes or price control, limit its availability and reduce children's exposure to marketing.