"Any of these policy actions would contribute to reductions in population-level consumption, a vital step toward decreasing the health loss associated with alcohol use". The study compiled data from almost 700 other surveys and research efforts to draw a more comprehensive picture of the effects of alcohol consumption and, well, it's not looking good. "Our results indicate that alcohol use and its harmful effects on health could become a growing challenge as countries become more developed, and enacting or maintaining strong alcohol control policies will be vital". They called for more regulations around alcohol use and said there is no amount of alcohol that is healthy.
The risk was 7 percent higher in people who had two drinks a day, and 37 percent higher among people who had five drinks every day, according to the report. "But the evidence is the evidence".
For people 50 years and older in high-income countries, cancers are the leading cause of alcohol-related death; in low-income countries it is tuberculosis.
The researchers noted some benefits of alcohol but still maintained that the side effects are far worse.
She added that those who are able to drink moderately are making their own choices based on their experiences.
"However, studies have shown that India has a large number of heavy drinkers - more than 75 ml/day or nearly every day of the week".
However, in terms of total numbers, Gakidou said, "most deaths from alcohol come from cardiovascular disease and cancers when you look at average consumption by age and sex within countries".
Compared to abstinence, imbibing one "standard drink" - 10 grams of alcohol, equivalent to a small beer, glass of wine or shot of spirits - per day, for example, ups the odds of developing at least one of two dozen health problems by about half-a-percent, the researchers reported. According to the Mayo Clinic, alcohol, though not totally risk-free, can reduce risk of heart disease, diabetes and having a strike.
The researchers proposed that alcoholic drinks be made less affordable and appealing by increasing taxes on them and regulating their price, the marketing of drinks and where alcohol can be sold.
The most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans, a report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the United States Department of Agriculture, suggests women have no more than one drink daily and men have no more than two.
Drinking patterns vary globally. "There are risks and benefits, and I think it's important to have the best information about all of those and come to some personal decisions, and engage one's health care provider in that process as well".
Rather, the findings apply more to people who have one drink a day, most days of the week, Humphreys said.
He writes that to understand the 0.5% increase in risk from drinking one drink a day, 25,000 people would need to drink 10g of alcohol a day (10g being the amount recognised as a single drink in the report) for a year, that's 3,650g of alcohol each.