A new study published in the journal The Lancet used data from the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors study to determine that drinking an average of one alcoholic drink per day for one year increases the risk of developing one of 23 alcohol-related health problems by 0.5 percent. These health problems problems include cardiovascular disease, cancers, other injuries, and more. The risk of developing those health problems increases rapidly with increased daily drinks.
That alcohol can have negative effects on your health should come as no surprise, but previous studies have indicated that low levels of alcohol consumption can help certain conditions, including health disease and diabetes. This study, however, only found a minimal helpful effect for one particular form of heart disease called ischemic heart disease, and concluded that the for the average person risks outweigh the potential benefits. The leader of the study, Dr. Max Griswold from the University of Washingotn Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, stated "we found that the combined health risks associated with alcohol increase with any amount of alcohol" and claimed that "policies focusing on reducing alcohol consumption to the lowest levels will be important to improve health."
However, in an interview with ABC news, Dr. Nasir Naqvi, who was not involved in the study and serves as an assistant professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, said the study merely "is showing a statistical association between any level of drinking and an elevated risk of poor health outcomes that, in aggregate, may reduce one’s lifespan...There are many seemingly benign things in life that statistically increase the risk of death, such as driving, swimming at the beach, etc. Are you also going to stop doing these things because of this statistical association?” He went on to say “if low-level drinking has some benefit to your life; it enhances your social life and facilitates overall wellbeing, then for some people this may be more important than prolonging your life by every possible means.”
I tend to side more with Dr. Naqvi on this one--by all means, quit drinking if you are concerned for your health, and obviosuly if you are heavily drinking you are harming your body. However, everything we do carries some risk, and for many people, the low-level consuption of alcohol is worth the risk. What do you think of this new study and its implications, if any?