There is No Such Thing as "Drinking Moderately"
A comprehensive new study on harm caused by alcohol came to a jarring conclusion: none is the only healthy amount. No "drinking in moderation," no "enjoying an occasional glass of red wine with dinner." None. This is exactly the kind of news that makes us count down the minutes until happy hour.
There are plenty of unsavory observations dropped by the study, but we'll run through the highlights. The researchers found in 2016 that drinking alcohol led to 2.8 million deaths worldwide. It is the seventh leading cause of early death and disability around the globe, and the leading cause among people 15 to 49 years old, where it was to blame for 10 percent of deaths. It was also more damaging to men, leading to about three times higher health loss than it did for women in 2016.
And as for those lovely studies that found drinking a glass of wine staved off heart disease? The authors write that the other health risks associated with alcohol overshadowed any potential benefits, and especially the risk of cancer. Because, oh yeah, alcohol consumption increased the risk of all cancers.
To put it simply, "Alcohol use contributes to health loss from many causes and exacts its toll across the lifespan, particularly among men," the study says. The best way to avoid this health disaster? To not drink at all. The safest level of alcohol is zero.
Researchers from the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation pulled together data from hundreds of studies on global health and alcohol consumption. Their findings, published in the Lancet medical journal, were based on information from 28 million people in 195 countries, from 1990 to 2016.
In the U.S., it is recommended that adults drink moderately: One drink per day for women and two for men, according to the CDC. But you know what you have to do if you're trying to live your best life.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.