The analysis, involving 195 countries and territories from 1990 to 2016, relied on 694 sources of data and analyzed 592 studies to determine the health risks of alcohol use. While the study is among the largest of its kind, it was also observational, linking population-wide consumption to population-wide trends.
Online in Medium, David Spiegelhalter, a statistician at Cambridge University in England, wrote of the study’s conclusion: “Claiming there is no ‘safe’ level does not seem an argument for abstention. There is no safe level of driving, but governments do not recommend that people avoid driving.”
The researchers relied on sales data and surveys to estimate the prevalence of drinking in each country and calculated alcohol consumption in standard drinks daily, defined as 10 grams, or about one-third of an ounce, of pure ethyl alcohol — the equivalent of 3.4 ounces of red wine at 13 percent alcohol, 12 ounces of beer at 3.5 percent alcohol or one ounce of 80-proof whiskey.
They also devised a method for distinguishing alcohol consumption among tourists from that of resident populations, and linked consumption data to 23 health outcomes, ranging from car accidents, suicides and tuberculosis, to liver cirrhosis, cardiovascular disease and cancers.
“The main difference between alcohol and smoking is that no one is surprised that smoking is bad,” said the lead author, Emmanuela Gakidou, a professor of health metrics sciences at the University of Washington.
该研究的第一作者、华盛顿大学(University of Washington)的健康计量科学教授埃马努埃拉.贾齐杜(Emmanuela Gakidou)说，“酒精和吸烟之间的主要区别是，没人会对抽烟不好感到惊讶。”
“But there’s a lot of surprise, even among experts, that alcohol is as bad for you as it is.”
Many studies and most health guidelines suggest that moderate drinking — one or two drinks a day — is safe and may even reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke or diabetes.