This story will come as very bad news for a lot of people. It’s also a major turnabout from what we’ve been told in the past: that some amount of alcohol, especially wine, can be good for us.
In the largest study of its kind, which covered multiple countries, it has been determined that alcohol is never good for anyone under the age of forty.
The study was published in Lancet and is called the Population-Level of Risks of Alcohol Consumption by Amount, Geography, Age, Sex and Year: A Systematic Analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study of 2020. It concluded that “[a]lcohol carries significant health risks and no benefits for young people but some older adults may gain from drinking a small amount,” reports The Guardian.
“Our message is simple: young people should not drink, but older people may benefit from drinking small amounts,” said Dr. Emmanuela Gakidou, Professor of Health Metrics Sciences at the University of Washington’s School of Medicine. “While it may not be realistic to think young adults will abstain from drinking, we do think it’s important to communicate the latest evidence so that everyone can make informed decisions about their health.”
The drinking habits of people in 204 countries were studied. The finding was that “59% of those who drank harmful amounts were aged 15-39 – people for whom alcohol provided no health benefit and posed risks, including injuries relating to drinking or car accidents, suicides or murders. Three-quarters of harmful drinkers were men.”
“[F]or men aged 15-39, the recommended amount of alcohol before ‘risking health loss’ was just 0.136 of a standard drink a day. For women of the same age, the ‘theoretical minimum risk exposure level’ was 0.273 drinks – about a quarter of a standard drink a day.” A standard drink for purposes of the study was “a 100ml glass of 13%-alcohol red wine or a 375ml can or bottle of 3.5% beer.”
For people over forty, the amount of alcohol that was safe to drink, according to the study, increased as they got older. On average, “the recommended alcohol intake for adults over the age of 40 remained low, peaking at 1.87 standard drinks a day. After that the health risks increased with each drink,” the Lancet reported.
This tweet sums it up well: “Having read this @guardian story about how bad alcohol is for one’s health, I’ve decided to give up reading.”
For those who like to drink, this is a very sobering study. Even for those over forty, health risks increase with each drink over less than two drinks. Do you think anyone will take the advice and recommendations from this study?