Low-risk alcohol consumption still considered harmful to the body

A recently published study in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs found that moderate alcohol consumption even within low-risk drinking guidelines could still be harmful to the body, increasing the chances of alcohol-related disability or fatality.

The findings were released online by researchers at the University of Victoria who utilized the Substance Use Exposure Database for alcohol consumption data and the International Model of Alcohol Harms and Policies (InterMAHP), a comprehensive guide to the estimation of alcohol-attributable morbidity and mortality.

“Alcohol exposure data were from the Canadian Substance Use Exposure Database. InterMAHP was used to estimate alcohol-attributable deaths and hospital stays experienced by people drinking within low-risk drinking guidelines (LRDGs), people drinking above LRDGs, and former drinkers,” the findings read.

“Global Burden of Disease (GBD) relative risk functions were acquired and weighted by the distribution of Canadian mortality.”

According to the results, male participants were the most prevalent in the Canadian-based assessment, with 18 percent reporting to have drunk above weekly guidelines, compared to 7 percent of women.

Among the participants studied, following the drinking guidelines did not reduce the risk of harmful effects from alcohol consumption, even at the moderate levels.

“A weighted relative risk analysis found that, for both women and men, the risk was lowest at a consumption level of 10 g per day. For all levels of consumption, men were found to experience a higher weighted relative risk than women,” according to the findings.

Refraining from surpassing one alcoholic drink a day could be useful guidance for reducing the harmful risks associated with alcohol use.

Some countries outside of Canada have implemented drinking guidelines that may be too high and could pave the way for increased risk of alcohol-related disability or far worse outcomes, the research team affirmed.

“Drinkers following weekly LRDGs are not insulated from harm. Greater than 50% of alcohol-caused cancer deaths are experienced by those drinking within weekly limits,” the co-authors of the study concluded.

“Findings suggest that guidelines of around one drink per day may be appropriate for high-income countries.”

Image courtesy of SBCTV
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