If you were thinking of meeting up with friends after work for happy hour, think again.
A new global study from the British journal The Lancet found that the safest level of drinking was none.
Zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada.
The study, published Thursday, analyzed data from the 2016 Global Burden of Disease report to determine levels of alcohol use and its health effects in 195 countries for males and females ages 15 to 49 between 1990 to 2016. Researchers found alcohol use was the leading risk factor for death and disability and accounted for nearly 10 percent of annual global deaths — about 2.8 million annually.
It accounted for about 3 percent of deaths in women and 12 percent of deaths in men.
In the United States, excessive alcohol use led to approximately 88,000 annual deaths between 2006 and 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.
“This study is extremely important because it sheds light on the dangerous impact of alcohol — which is greatly minimized in our culture,” said Joseph Garbely, vice president of medical services and medical director at Caron Treatment Centers. “We’re in the midst of a raging opioid epidemic and yet the majority of our patients seek treatment for alcohol use disorders. Make no mistake — alcohol can be deadly and will affect your health over time.”
The study, which was funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, contradicts other health guidelines — which espouse health benefits associated with consuming up to two drinks per day — saying any benefits were offset by the risks of developing 23 other alcohol-related diseases, specifically cancers, or dying from alcohol-related accidents.
Moderation is defined as up to one drink a day for women of all ages and men older than age 65, and up to two drinks a day for men age 65 and younger, according to the Mayo Clinic. One drink is considered 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.1 ounces of 80 proof spirits.
Based on the results, the researchers recommend that public health campaigns revise their message to include alcohol abstinence and focus on reducing overall drinking.
If consumers have questions regarding alcohol and health, they should discuss the potential risks and benefits of consuming alcohol with their physician, the Distilled Spirits Council stated.