SALT LAKE CITY — A new major study released this week concluded that there’s “no safe level of alcohol.”
The authors of the study, which was published in The Lancet, reviewed the drinking habits of 28 million people worldwide and determined there is no safe level of alcohol consumption.
The researchers found alcohol leads to 2.8 million deaths worldwide each year. That means about 2 percent of women and 7 percent of men will die every year from alcohol-related health problems, the study said.
The report said about 1 in 3 people consume alcohol, which is about 2.4 billion people globally.
Alcohol can negatively impact the body’s organs, lead to injuries and cause alcohol poisoning, the study found.
"Previous studies have found a protective effect of alcohol on some conditions, but we found that the combined health risks associated with alcohol increase with any amount of alcohol," lead author Dr. Max Griswold, of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, said in a statement to CBS News. "In particular, the strong association between alcohol consumption and the risk of cancer, injuries, and infectious diseases offset the protective effects for ischemic heart disease in women in our study."
He added, "Although the health risks associated with alcohol starts off being small with one drink a day, they then rise rapidly as people drink more."
The researchers reviewed data from 694 studies to figure out how common drinking was around the world. They then examined 592 studies with data from 28 million people in 195 countries to understand the health risks associated with alcohol.
The Global Burden of Disease led the study, which looked at data specifically from 1990 to 2016, according to BBC News.
Other findings from the study include:
- Alcohol was the seventh-leading risk factor for premature death and disease in 2016.
- Cancers were the leading cause of alcohol-related deaths among those 50 and older that year.
- Out of 100,000 non-drinkers, 914 people would likely develop an alcohol-related problem, such as an injury. An extra four people would be affected if those non-drinkers had one drink per day.
Previous studies and research have indicated that there are health benefits to drinking alcohol, if you keep your drinking to a moderate level. According to the Mayo Clinic, alcohol, though not totally risk-free, can reduce risk of heart disease, diabetes and having a strike.
But researchers from the new study said those studies had limitations. Most of them relied on self-reported information, which means people have to remember their drinking habits accurately, which means the data might be flawed or inaccurate, according to CBS.
“Additionally, certain studies may not take into account that some non-drinkers may avoid alcohol because they already have health issues. Some studies also overlook illicit trade and home brewing,” CBS News reported.