People up to 40 years old only sustains health risks due to alcohol consumption, there was no such positive health effects, a new American study on the effects of alcohol found. For older age groups, however, an occasional drink may have positive effects.

Researchers from the University of Washington in Seattle have conducted a new large-scale study- “Global Burden of Disease”- into the effects of alcohol on people’s health, which was published in the medical journal The Lancet on Friday. It is the first large-scale study into the effects of alcohol that takes account of people’s place of residence, age and gender.


The study added one of the most remarkable findings is that drinking alcohol has no positive health effects on people under 40. Men in that age category, specifically, are more at risk of health problems because they drink more often, & in larger quantities, than women.

For this purpose, the researchers collected data from around 204 countries for the period between 1990 and 2020. It shows that 1.34 billion people consumed excessive alcohol in 2020 (more than 1 billion men and around 300 million women). Globally, alcohol-related risks were highest among men aged 15-39.

If we look at individuals who exhibit harmful alcohol consumption, we find that 59.1% of it falls in the age category 15 to 39 years old. 76.7% are men,” the researchers found. The problematic use of alcohol is mainly located in Oceania, Western Europe and Central Europe.

Based on the same data, the researchers established a minimum limit per region and according to gender, from which drinking alcohol is harmful. For the group of 15 to 39-year-olds, that limit is between 0.1 and 0.4 standard glasses of alcohol per day.

“The message is simple, young people had better not drink,” said Emmanuela Gakidou, a professor at the University of Washington who teamed on the study.

Four years ago, the same study showed that a glass of alcohol was always harmful, but this more recent research shows that an occasional glass can have positive effects on the older age groups. The minimum limit for those over 40 is between 0.5 and 1.8 standard glasses of alcohol per day.


“Consuming a small amount of alcohol can provide some health benefits for people in this age group who do not suffer from any underlying disorders,” the researchers concluded. It would reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, strokes and diabetes.

In the study, a “standard glass” of alcohol is defined as 10 g of pure alcohol, which corresponds approximately to a 100 ml glass of wine (13% alcohol), a 375 ml can of beer (3.5% alcohol) or a 30 ml shot of spirits (40% alcohol).


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