Overall, drinking was the seventh leading risk factor for premature death and disease in 2016, accounting for just over two percent of deaths in women and almost seven percent in men.
However, when looking specifically at people aged 15-49 years old, alcohol was the leading risk factor in 2016, with 3.8% of deaths in women and 12.2% of deaths in men attributable to alcohol, with causes including vehicle accidents and other injury. That same level of drinking, the report concluded, raises your risk of dying early by much as seven per cent compared to not drinking at all. "The myth that one or two drinks a day are good for you is just that - a myth".
Can a glass of wine a day keep the doctor away?
Globally, the most common causes of alcohol-related death among those ages 15 to 49 were road injuries, self-harm and tuberculosis. That measurement varies around the world; for example, a standard drink is 8 grams in the United Kingdom and 14 grams in US.
"The level of consumption that minimises health loss due to alcohol use is zero", the authors wrote.
Governments need to change the guidance they give to their citizens and should consider taxes and other measures to discourage drinking, the worldwide team of researchers reported in the Lancet Medical Journal. "Alcohol use contributes to health loss from many causes and exacts its toll across the lifespan, particularly among men".
The primary conclusion of this study is that even occasional drinking can harm our health.
"There's no safe level of riding a bike or driving a vehicle".
When accounting for relative risk of drinking, researchers found that any alcohol consumption increased these risk factors and emphasized that the safest amount of alcohol is no alcohol.
This obviously isn't great news to hear with the weekend on the horizon, but if you're doing your best to be health-conscious it might be a good idea to skip the bar and find something else to do.
"The study confirms that alcohol is one of the world's leading causes of disability, disease and death", Humphreys said. After all, even experts accept that drinking alcohol is pretty fun (in moderation, of course).
Professor Emmanuela Gakidou, Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, University of Washington, USA, said, "Alcohol poses dire ramifications for future population health in the absence of policy action today".
"Based on these findings", Bell said, "at no point.is there a level of consumption that appears to lower the overall risk of developing any of the wide array of diseases investigated in comparison to non-drinking".