Alcohol is a leading risk factor for death and disease worldwide, and is associated with nearly one in 10 deaths in people aged 15-49 years old, according to a Global Burden of Disease study published in The Lancet that estimates levels of alcohol use and health effects in 195 countries between 1990 to 2016.
Based on their analysis, the authors suggest that there is no safe level of alcohol as any health benefits of alcohol are outweighed by its adverse effects on other aspects of health, particularly cancers.
They estimate that drinking one alcoholic drink a day increases the risk of developing one of the 23 alcohol-related health problems by 0.5%, compared with not drinking at all (from 914 people in 100,000 for non-drinkers to 918 people in 100,000 for people who consume one alcoholic drink a day).
Alcohol has a complex association with health, affecting it in multiple ways. Regular consumption has adverse effects on organs and tissues, acute intoxication can lead to injuries or poisoning, and alcohol dependence may lead to frequent intoxication, self-harm or violence. Some previous research has suggested that low levels of consumption can have a protective effect against heart disease and diabetes.