Heavy drinking comes with numerous documented health risks, but what about moderate drinking? According to a new study, even “low-risk” drinking can be harmful.
According to a new study published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, even consuming alcohol within weekly low-risk drinking guidelines can result in hospitalization and death.
Researchers led by Adam Sherk, Ph.D., of the Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada discovered that a significant portion of alcohol-caused death and disability was experienced by those drinking within the Canadian government’s low risk guidelines for drinking.
The guidelines are slightly higher than those in the United States and include no more than 10 drinks per week for women and no more than 15 for men, according to Science Daily.
During their research, they discovered that more than 50% of cancer deaths resulting from alcohol use occurred in people drinking moderately. And 38% of all alcohol-attributable deaths were experienced by people drinking below the weekly limits or among former drinkers.
However, the study did reveal that for women, drinking within the provided guidelines showed a decreased risk of death from heart attack, stroke and diabetes but those results did not hold true for men.
For their investigation, researches used a new kind of open-access model that can be used to estimate alcohol harms in a country or state, in total or by drinking group. Their results led them to believe that some national drinking guidelines may be too high and suggest that they be lowered to match those in the Netherlands which limits drinking to one drink per day.
“U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that if alcohol is consumed, it should be consumed in moderation—up to one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men—and only by adults of legal drinking age,” according to the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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