Zero tolerance: no safe level of alcohol
- Created on Monday, 27 August 2018 12:21
This article by Marlowe Hood appeared on August 23, 2018. It's great that a study has confirmed that the effects of alcohol are linear, just as are the effects of most things. It has been known for many decades, and nearly a century, that alcohol is a carcinogen, a mutagen, a universal toxin, and a "protoplasmic poison" as Herbert Shelton used to call it. The idea that a little bit of alcohol is good for you was never a reasonable claim or expectation. It was really just wishful thinking. And, it was politically motivated. You see, we live in an insane world where if one person wants to come home from work and relax by drinking a glass of wine, he or she can, but if another person prefers to smoke a marijuana cigarette, he or she is subject to arrest, prosecution, incarceration, forfeiture of their assets, etc. How do you justify that? You justify it by claiming that, unlike marijuana and other illicit drugs, a little bit of alcohol is good for you. And that's why most of the studies purporting that alcohol is a health boon were sponsored, directly or indirectly, by the U.S. government.
In the insane "War on Drugs" alcohol had to become a health food.
Most people drink, at least a little. So, what should they do? They should start by casting aside the delusion that a little bit of alcohol is good for you. The less alcohol you drink, the better. The ideal amount is zero, and if you can't get to zero, then get as close to zero as you possibly can. Keep striving to get lower and lower and lower in your consumption of alcohol, until you are at zero. That is the intelligent thing to do in light of what we know.
In Nature, alcohol is produced by bacteria, but ultimately, it kills them too. Why do you think alcohol can be used as an antiseptic? Alcohol is toxic to all living things, and it certainly does not belong in anyone's health program. Alcohol is anti-life.
Dr. Ralph Cinque
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Even an occasional glass of wine or beer increases the risk of health problems and dying, according to a major study on drinking in 195 nations that attributes 2.8 million premature deaths worldwide each year to booze.
"There is no safe level of alcohol," said Max Griswold, a researcher at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation in Seattle, Washington and lead author for a consortium of more than 500 experts.
Despite recent research showing that light-to-moderate drinking reduces heart disease, the new study found that alcohol use is more likely than not to do harm.
"The protective effect of alcohol was offset by the risks," Griswold told AFP in summarising the results, published in medical journal The Lancet on Friday.
"Overall, the health risks associated with alcohol rose in line with the amount consumed each day."
Compared to abstinence, imbibing one "standard drink" -- 10 grammes 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.
Looked at one way, that seems like a small increment: 914 out of 100,000 teetotallers will encounter those problems, compared to 918 people who imbibe seven times per week.
"But at the global level, that additional risk of 0.5 percent among (once-a-day) drinkers corresponds to about 100,000 additional deaths each year," said senior author Emmanuela Gakidou, a professor at the University of Washington and a director at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.
- 'Less is better, none is best' -
"Those are excess deaths, in other words, that could be avoided," she told AFP.
The risk climbs in a steep "J-curve", the study found.
An average of two drinks per day, for example, translated into a 7.0 percent hike in disease and injury compared to those who opt for abstinence.
With five "units" of alcohol per day, the likelihood of serious consequences jumps by 37 percent.
The "less is better, none is best" finding jibes with the World Health Organization's long-standing position, but is at odds with many national guidelines, especially in the developed world.