Science flip-flops on the health benefits of alcohol as much as it does coffee. The latest research? Booze is bad, bad, bad, no matter what — or how much of it — you're ingesting. Is it time to give up that one glass of red a night?
Thanks to data from the 2016 Global Burden of Disease Study, researchers were able to gather data for "195 locations from 1990 to 2016", inclusive of men and woman, aged between 15 and 95.
With this data, it was possible to "[produce] estimates of the prevalence of current drinking [habits] ... and alcohol-attributable deaths" as well as conduct "a new meta-analysis of relative risks for 23 health outcomes associated with alcohol use."
The conclusion is pretty succinct — and damning:
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 minimises 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.
The statement that the "level of consumption that minimises health loss is zero" doesn't leave much to interpretation. It's possible future research — even using the same study — could come up with an opposing conclusion, but for now, this result is rather definitive, given the weight of data.
The worst part about not drinking is having to tell people you don't drink. It's difficult because drinking usually occurs at a time when it's socially acceptable to drink; situations where not drinking is a little bit strange. On a Friday night after work. Someone's leaving their job. Maybe someone's celebrating?