If you are one of those moderate drinkers who do not mind the occasional sundowner or a nightcap thinking that it is good for you, think again. A new study published in the international medical journal The Lancet has found that there is no safe level of consumption.

“Our results show that the safest level of drinking is none. This level is in conflict with most health guidelines, which espouse health benefits associated with consuming up to two drinks per day,” the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study said.

The study assessed alcohol-related health outcomes and patterns between 1990 and 2016 for 195 countries and territories, by age and sex. Researchers used 694 data sources on individual and population-level alcohol consumption, along with 592 studies on the risk of alcohol use.

According to the study, alcohol use was the seventh leading risk factor for both deaths and disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) in 2016, accounting for 2·2% of female deaths and 6·8% of age male deaths. It estimates that in 2016, 32.5% of people globally were current drinkers—25% of these were females and 39% males.

Lately, researchers have been questioning the perception around moderate drinking. A lot of studies that suggested moderate drinking was good for health often compare heavy drinkers with moderate or light drinkers, instead of comparing them with non-drinkers. In effect, light or moderate drinkers would show better results than heavy drinkers.

The study shows that alcohol use contributes to health loss in many ways and exacts its toll across the lifespan, particularly among men. Alcohol use is a leading risk factor for disease burden worldwide, accounting for nearly 10% of global deaths among populations aged 15–49 years, and poses dire ramifications for future population health in the absence of policy action today, it says, calling for measures at policy level to tackle the issue.

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