A new study showed that alcohol is harmful in any amount.
Dozens of universities and more than 500 scientists around the world have come to the conclusion that there is no safe level of alcohol consumption for health. The slight positive effect, which was thought to give small doses of alcohol, is reduced to zero by the risk of developing a variety of diseases.
The authoritative medical journal The Lancet published the study "Alcohol consumption and consequences for 195 countries and territories, 1990 - 2016". At the moment, this is the most ambitious assessment of the consequences of alcohol consumption for human health.
According to the authors' estimates, in 2016 every third or about 2.4 billion people in the world drank. During the same year, about 2.8 million people died from the effects of alcohol consumption. Alcohol is on the 7th place among the risk factors for life.
One of the main conclusions that scientists have made is that there is no such thing as a "safe level of consumption" of alcohol. Alcohol is harmful in any amount.
The authors compared the level of alcohol consumption in 195 countries with the health of the population of these countries (a total of 28 million people) between 1990 and 2016. People aged 15 to 95, drinking and not drinking at all, were considered. It turned out that one unit of alcohol (ie 10 g of alcohol, or 250 ml of beer 4.5%, or 100 ml of dry wine or 30 ml of vodka) per day increases the probability of at least one disease by 0.5%.
So, 914 people from 100 thousand people who do not drink can develop the same diseases as those who drink. But among those who drink one unit of alcohol a day, the likelihood of developing such diseases increases. In this group of the development of a disease for the year can expect 918 out of 100 thousand. Among those consuming two portions of alcohol per day, the ratio is already 977 out of 100 thousand, and with an increase in the daily dose of alcohol to five servings - 1252 out of 100 thousand.
If we translate this ratio into the real population of a country, millions of premature deaths and disabilities result.
It can be seen from the study that men who drink at least occasionally are most in Denmark (97%), followed by Norway, Argentina, Germany and Poland (94%). Drinking women are also more in Denmark (95%), Norway (91%), Germany and Argentina (90%) and New Zealand (89%).
By the number of daily consumed alcohol, Romanian men are leading (more than 8 units per day) and Ukrainian women (slightly more than 4 units per day).
According to the authors of the study, in Russia in 2016, 64% of women consumed alcoholic beverages, and 36% completely abstained. And over this period, 43,000 women died from the causes associated with alcohol consumption in the country. Among Russian men, the ratio of 80% to 20%, and 180 thousand of them died. At the same time, on average, women drink 1.9 units of alcohol per day, and men - 5.1 units. In the ranking of countries where men die most from alcohol consumption, Russia ranks third after China (where, for this reason, 650,000 men died in 2016) and India (290,000 deaths among men). The top 10 also includes Brazil (76,000), the United States (71,000), Vietnam (60,000), Ukraine (53,000), Germany and Mexico (43,000 each) and France (37,000) . According to the female death rate, Russia is second only to China.
Some of the studies conducted before this testified to the existence of a "protective effect from alcohol" for a number of diseases (for example, in diabetes or ischemia). "However, we found that the overall health threat associated with alcohol consumption increases regardless of consumption," said lead author Max Griswold of the Institute for Health Indicators and Assessment at the University of Washington. According to him, "the dependence between alcohol consumption and the risk of developing cancer, the emergence of injuries and infectious diseases negates the entire positive effect in heart disease."
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends (.pdf) that women do not consume more than two units of alcohol per day, for men not more than three. But one of the authors of the study, a professor at the University of Washington and director of the Institute of Indicators and Health Assessment Emmanuel Gakida believes that the principle should be different. "The less, the better, and the best, nothing," she says, adding that all these million-strong deaths from alcohol consumption could be avoided.