Alcohol in its various forms is a staple in the diets of many across the globe. In fact, it’s estimated that 2.4 billion individuals consume alcohol on a regular basis. Could it be that something so common to so many is one of the greatest risk factors for death and disability? Well, if we take a look at the the Alameda County Health study that revealed the seven factors that promote health and longevity, you’ll notice that limiting alcohol consumption is one of them:
- Sleeping seven to eight hours a night
- No eating between meals
- Eating breakfast regularly
- Maintaining proper weight
- Exercising regularly
- Moderate or no drinking of alcohol
- Not smoking
The study stated that “moderate” or no use of alcohol was good for health, but recent studies have revealed that no amount of alcohol is the safest for human health.
The dangers of alcohol
Let’s cut to the chase. Alcohol use is responsible for 2.5 million years of potential life lost, cutting short the lives of those that died at an average of 30 years old. Other risk factors that alcohol consumption elevates are:
- Injuries (motor vehicle accidents, burns, drowning, falls, etc.)
- Alcohol poisoning
- Sexual assault
- Cancer of the breast, mouth, throat, esophagus, liver and colon
- Psychiatric disorders
- Miscarriage and stillbirth
- High blood pressure
- Learning and memory problems
- Social problems
- Alcohol dependence and much more1
With a list as long and sobering (pun intended) as this, it’s baffling that alcohol isn’t banned entirely. The pain and untold sorrow that alcohol-related tragedies have caused are innumerable; it’s unsurprising that avoiding alcohol is one of the easiest ways to prolong health and abundant life.
No amount of alcohol is safe
The Lancet recently published a study recapping the 2016 Global Burden of Disease, Injury, and Risk Factors Study, in which researchers complied data quantifying the deaths attributed to alcohol and disability-adjusted life-years for 195 locations from 1990 to 2016. From there, it was determined that alcohol was responsible for 10% of deaths of individuals between the ages of 15 to 45 years old. Stunning, isn’t it?
Alcohol is also the seventh leading risk factor for death and disability-adjusted life-years. 2. Researchers also found that the risk of alcohol consumption increases with use of alcohol and that the level of consumption that minimizes health loss is zero. These finding have led the researchers to suggest that control policies must be revised worldwide and that the assumption that “a glass a day can be healthy” must be discarded.
The conclusion on alcohol
The conclusion of the study sums in up nicely saying,
“The widely held view of the health benefits of alcohol needs revising, particularly as improved methods and analyses continue to show how much alcohol use contributes to global death and disability. 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.
Alcohol use contributes to health loss from many causes and exacts its toll across the lifespan, particularly among men. Policies that focus on reducing population-level consumption will be most effective in reducing the health loss from alcohol use.”2
Avoiding alcohol is one of the clearest ways to prevent unfortunate and unwanted tragedy and disease. Abstaining from alcohol is not only a wise