All levels of alcohol drinking damage our heart health, says a new study
, compounding longstanding medical advice not to consume alcohol as a health tonic.
The study eliminates the positive effect of lifestyle factors relatively common among low-level alcohol drinkers which confused earlier results. These other factors account fully for low level drinkers’ relatively good heart health.
Alcohol drinking is also linked to an increased risk of cancers, even at low levels, though the added risk at low levels is small. The net effect of alcohol drinking at all levels across a range of diseases is to shorten lifespan.
The added health risks of drinking alcohol at a low level are small. But alcohol is a potentially addictive substance we commonly enjoy consuming and overdosing, making it hard to stick to low-risk drinking.
Drinking more than a small amount shows rapidly increasing risk of developing a range of health problems. To keep the risk low the UK’s chief medical officer recommends no more than 140ml of alcohol a week.
Alcohol interests have for decades defied medical consensus and promoted alcohol as something that might ward off ill-health to sell more of its product and to help ward off calls for more effective regulation.